Alex Beach punctuated his new job at Westchester Country Club with a fist pump in South Carolina this week. The celebration came as he won the 52nd PGA Professional Championship on the West Course at Belfair in Bluffton, SC. The win came just weeks after the 29-year-old started a new job as an assistant pro at Westchester Country Club
In a fascinating twist to the story, Beach’s two-stroke victory came over Danny Balin, the pro he replaced at Westchester CC when Balin left to become head professional at Fresh Meadow CC on Long Island. Beach posted a closing 3-under-par 69 for a 72-hole total of 10-under-par 277.
“I knew playing Danny would not be easy. He’s a tough opponent and he’s not going to make a lot of mistakes,” Beach said. “It was fun to have a two-man race with him.” The duo started the day in a dead tie five strokes ahead of the rest of the field. They battled back and forth with Balin taking a temporary one-stroke lead at the seventh hole, but Beach added birdies at holes 13 and 15 to seal the win. In addition to the Walter Hagen Cup, Beach took home $55,000 from the $650,000 purse.
“I knew he was this good when I hired him,” says Westchester CC director of golf Ben Hoffhine. “We had the utmost confident his job, the facility, and membership would bring out the best in Alex. He is a testament to perseverance, hard work and dedication to his craft. Alex represents himself, Westchester, the Metropolitan PGA and the golf profession to the highest standards and we are proud to call him one of our own. In the short time he has been at Westchester CC he has befriended many and made a lasting impression.
Beach also lands a spot in the PGA Championship to be played at Bethpage Black May 16-19. It will be his second appearance in the major. In addition to Beach, Brian Mackey of Hollow Brook GC and Rob Labritz from GlenArbor GC will be among the twenty club pros competing against the Tour pros at Bethpage. It will be the sixth time for Labritz, who was low club pro in 2010 when the championship was played at Whistling Straits. Nine pros from Westchester qualified to compete at Belfair.