At 52, Omar Uresti became the second-oldest PGA Professional Championship winner last year when he took the title at the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Uresti was only behind Hall of Famer Sam Snead, who was 59 when he won in 1971, and the victory earned the Austin native a spot in the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island as well as six PGA Tour exemptions over the next year and a spot on the 2022 U.S. PGA Cup team.
But it also afforded the veteran of nearly 400 PGA Tour starts the chance to defend his title on home turf at the 2022 PGA Professional Championship being held April 17-20, at the Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa.
Uresti, who went to Crockett High School and the University of Texas — where he twice earned All-American status — is part of an elite group of multiple winners of the event that includes Larry Gilbert (1981, 1982, 1991), Mike Small (2005, 2009, 2010), Roger Watson (1974, 1975), Tim Thelen (2000, 2003) and Matt Dobyns (2012, 2015).
Omar Uresti reacts to his putt on the 16th hole during the final round of the 54th PGA Professional Championship at PGA Golf Club. (Photo: Montana Pritchard/PGA of America | Palm Beach Post)
“It’s pretty cool to sleep in my own bed and get some support here locally. You cannot put a price on that,” said Uresti.
Although you might expect Uresti to have a major advantage since he lives in town, he admitted he doesn’t often play the two (of four) courses on the property that will be used for the event — the Coore Crenshaw course and Fazio Foothills.
“I have not played the two golf courses as much as you’d think,” said Uresti. “At least not recently. I played them a lot when I was in college, when they were new, but that was a while back. I went out (last week), but the winds were up to 25 mph., so it was tough to get a good feel.
A number of past champions will make the trek to Austin with Alex Beach (2019), Rich Berberian Jr. (2016), Michael Block (2014), Dobyns, Scott Hebert (2008), Darrell Kestner (1996), Rod Rerry (2013), Ron Philo Jr. (2006), Jeff Roth (1993), Steve Schneiter (1995), Bill Schumaker (1984), Small, Bob Sowards (2004) and Ryan Vermeer (2018) all joining Uresti at the PGA Professionals’ signature event, which offers a total purse of $675,000.
The Championship field will have a 36-hole cut Monday to the low 90 scorers and ties, and a 54-hole cut Tuesday to the low 70 scorers and ties. The low 20 scorers earn a berth in the 2022 PGA Championship, which will be played May 16-22 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.