It was a rainy and wet 54-holes at the Indiana PGA Professional Championship at Prairie View Golf Club. With a delayed start Monday morning, the field was lucky to get in their opening 36-holes just before dark.
Heading to Tuesday’s final round, Mike Asbell, Woodland Country Club, and Chris Smith, Peru, shared the lead at 2-under-par.
With rain again early this morning, the course remained wet, but Asbell and Smith looked unphased as the final round began. With an opening birdie on the par-4, 1st, Asbell grabbed an early lead.
“It’s always good to start off with a birdie,” Asbell said. “I felt good after making that putt and then piping it down the middle on two.”
But Asbell’s solo lead was short lived, as Smith responded with a birdie on the par-4, 2nd
It wasn’t until the par-5, 7th
that Asbell regained the lead on his own again, after Smith three-putted for bogey. From that point forward, Asbell’s lead was never relinquished.
On the par-4, 16th
Asbell hit his approach shot close and converted his birdie putt to grab a two-shot lead over Smith with two holes to play.
With two-putt pars on 17, Asbell and Smith headed to the 18th
and final hole at 4-under and 2-under-par, respectively.
Having yet to make a bogey, Asbell lost his first tee shot of the day, hitting his hybrid into the penalty area right of the fairway. Smith’s tee ball was perfectly placed in the center of the fairway.
“At that point, I used the rules to my advantage,” Asbell said. “I was able to take back-on-the-line relief, keeping the point of entry in line with the pin and drop in the fairway. I laid up to about 180 yards.”
Smith hit his second shot to approximately 150 yards, putting himself in a good position for his third shot. Asbell would play first, fading his fourth shot into the bunker right of the green. Smith followed, hitting his approach shot to 30 feet below the pin.
“I had hit good bunker shots earlier in the round, but I was still extremely nervous over my fifth shot,” Asbell said. “I hit it actually a little bit further than I wanted to, but it came out of the bunker with a lot of spin – and I was happy with the result.”
Smith would go on to two-putt for par and Asbell converted his up-and-down from the bunker for bogey, claiming his first-ever Indiana PGA Professional Championship title – which came with a lot of emotion.
“Everyone saw me last year at The Brickyard, leading the tournament with three holes to go – and falling apart. Not only did I lose the tournament, but I lost my spot in the national championship. Walking off 18 this year, I feel really proud and really thankful.”
Today’s win earned Asbell a spot in the 2020 PGA Professional Championship, which will be contested at Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Tex., April 26-29, 2020.
“I’m super excited,” Asbell said. “When I qualified a few years ago, I went in wide eyed and overwhelmed. Now, I feel like I will be going in with a much better understanding of how I operate mentally. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Joining Asbell at the National Championship will be Chris Smith, Peru, Brad Mays, Pebble Brook GC, Mike O’Toole, Riverside Golf Academy, and Jamie Broce, IUPUI.
Click here for full field results.