Flagstaff, Ariz, September 21, 2011 – Brisbane, Queensland Australia-native Craig Hocknull won the 2011 Southwest Section PGA Professional Championship at Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz., on September 21.
An accomplished trick shot artist, Hocknull, 36, birdied the first playoff hole, the par 5 18th, to edge Glen Griffith of Tucson Golf Schools and 36-hole leader Mike Russell of The Stone Canyon Club. The three men finished at 6-under par after 54 holes of stroke play competition. Jon Stanley of the Jon Jacobs Golf School was fourth at 5-under, while Wes Weston of The Wynn Golf Club was fifth.
Seven Southwest Professionals Players also qualified for the National Professional Championship, Craig Hocknull, Glen Griffith, Mike Russell, John Stanley, Wes Weston, Jason Witczak and Frank O’Connell, As a Past Champion, Brett Upper will also be eligible to attend the National PNC. The National PNC will be played at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses, a pair of challenging venues that overlook California’s famed Monterey Peninsula, have been selected to host the 45th PGA Professional National Championship presented by Club Car and Mercedes-Benz, June 24-27, 2012. It will mark the 11th time that The PGA of America’s showcase event for PGA Professionals will be contested in California, and first since 1996.
Hocknull bogeyed the 18th hole for a final round 68 to get into the playoff. “There was some weather. I hit a 7-iron from 213 yards with a strong tailwind,” he said. “It found the bunker.”
In the first playoff hole on the same hole, Hocknull, who lives in Gilbert, hit a 6-iron from a similar yardage. He chipped it to within 7 feet and made the putt. Russell and Griffith both made par. “It’s very satisfying to come out with a win,” he said. “I’ve been working hard on my game.”
A golf trick shot artist for the Outback Golf Show (www.outbackgolfshow.com), Hocknull is a Class A PGA Professional in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. “I might be the only one in the world to have that status,” he said. “Since age six being a golf pro was always my dream. His parents are both Scottish. He was born in Papau New Guinea.
While he admits that trick shot demonstrations have been paying his bills, Hocknull, who played golf for and graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State University in Mississippi, would prefer to earn a living competing on the golf course. “Hopefully, my game will start paying the bills,” he said. “My trick shots are a God-given ability and my passion is growing the game of golf through my trick shots. Entertaining people and showing them they can enjoy it is fun. They see golf can be cool. I’d rather be playing to support my family.”
Watch video of Hocknull: http://www.youtube.com/user/OutbackGolfShow