Albany's Sonny Skinner won nearly $2,000 during his fourth career PGA Tournament Series victory this week. (Herald file photo)
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Sonny Skinner, teaching pro at River Pointe Golf Club and resident of Sylvester, birdied the first playoff hole Thursday for his fourth career victory in the PGA Tournament Series. Skinner out-finished first round leader Frank Bensel of Jupiter after they tied at 8-under on the Ryder Course at The PGA Golf Club.
After Bensel missed a 25 footer for birdie at the par-4 18th hole, Skinner converted from five feet for the win. Moments earlier, Skinner made a 10 footer at 18 for his sixth birdie of the day to go with one bogey for 67.
"I putted good," said Skinner, 51. "I switched back to a long putter (Thursday) and it felt good. It gave me a lot of confidence and that's a big part of golf, especially putting. I probably changed putters in 80 percent of my tournaments this year, but I think I will stay with the long putter next week."
The Tournament Series resumes next week, Sunday-Monday on the adjacent Wanamaker Course and Wednesday-Thursday at the nearby Port St. Lucie Country Club.
The victory also enhanced Skinner's chances for PGA of America Senior Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Skinner led close friend Craig Stevens of Dallas, Ga., by less than 12 points entering the 35th season of the Tournament Series this week. Each win is worth 50 points and since there is no senior division, the points went to Skinner, who, coincidentally, will be a conditional member of the Champions Tour in 2012.
Skinner earned $1,825 for the win.