After his opening round 66 took the lead, an even-par 71 by Bill Schumaker of Crooked Lake GC widened his lead and earned him the 2009 PGA Senior Professional Championship title September 10 at Harbour Trees GC. “It’s nice to finally get a win again. It’s been a long time,” he said. His last Section win came in 2007 when he was champion at this same event.
His efforts at this championship moved him up to the front-runner position for the PGA Pepsi Senior Player of the Year honor that he held eight times in a row from 2000-2007. He earned 150 more points to allow him to continue to edge out Quinn Griffing for the 2009 honor. Griffing of The Donald Ross Course interrupted Schumaker’s streak in 2008 when he was a rookie to the senior division. Griffing’s showing at the 2009 national Senior PGA gave him the points needed to defend his title.
Griffing finished as runner up at Harbour Trees after shooting 70-72=142, and nobody came closer than him in catching Schumaker. The closest he got all day was within two. Schumaker made two good putts on the front for consecutive birdies at 3 and 4, and another one at the 10th hole put him at a tournament low 7-under. But on the back he found greenside bunkers on four occasions, creating fewer birdie attempts.
The top two finishers along with Scott Morris of Gray Eagle GC, Cary Hungate of Kokomo CC and Todd Sandow of Sycamore GC all qualified for the PGA Senior Professional National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Flor., Oct. 29 – Nov. 1, 2009. Denny Hepler of Raccoon Run was the first alternate and took Schumaker’s place in Florida. Hepler finished the strongest of all Indiana contestants by coming in at 75th after rounds of 70-73-74-77=294.