- Eric Hoskinson photo
The Palm Springs Golf Championship returned to PGA West in the heart of the Coachella Valley for the 3rd year and hosted another great tournament under sunny skies and temperatures pushing 80 degrees.
The tournament was played at the Stadium and the Nicklaus Tournament courses, which were pushed to over 7100 yards with most tees set up right where the pros will play from in a few weeks when the PGA Tour visits.
As the Palm Springs Championship started, Cullen Brasfield and University of Pennsylvania golfer Mitchell Cornell were locked from hole one. The pair were tied after shooting 70 on the Stadium course in the first round with Brasfield making 5 birdies. Playing in front of Cornell as they played the Nicklaus in Round 2, Brasfield struggled making birdies.
Behind him Cornell played just as good as he did the day before, the biggest highlight coming when he would hit a perfect drive on the par-5 15th island green hole, and set up a great scoring opportunity, leading to a 71 and a two shot lead going into the final round.
Those two were joined by another mid am, Jerry Ledzinski. Ledzinski fired rounds of 76 and 75 to grab the third spot alone heading into the final round.
Brasfield, one month from his 41st birthday, started shaky with three putts on the first and third holes in round 3 back on the Stadium course. But he steadied himself with a great up and down for birdie on the par-5 fifth and then made pars the rest of the front nine. He would have the putter in his hand all nine greens, and on 16 out of 18 total, but just couldn’t find the bottom. It was when Cornell had some sand problems on the ninth, that Brasfield seized the lead and would not look back.
Making the turn one shot ahead, Brasfield would make three birdies on the back with one amazing up and down on the 11th where he almost holed out from 30 yards from right of the green for eagle. His tap-in birdie maintained his three shot lead. Birdies on the short par-4 14th and parallel hole 15 stalled any charge that Cornell was making giving Brasfield confidence he could close it out.
“I stood on the 16th tee and hit one so hard and straight, just a great confident swing.” said Brasfield. After he missed the green in the huge bunker left where you need to hit it 25 feet straight up to escape, some feared he might have some trouble making par. “Over the past two months I have worked really hard with my instructor, Bryan Lebedivitch and I had no doubt I could get that up and down for birdie, not scramble for par.”
After knocking it out to 10 feet, the birdie putt just slid by, but by then Brasfield knew it was just about over. “Still had two tough tee shots on 17 and 18, but just had to be mentally strong and hit good golf shots. My swing felt solid, so nope, no butterflies on those two shots. Just focused on my game plan and tried to execute.”
A short iron that landed on the island green 17 and a 2 iron into the middle of the 18th fairway assured Brasfield his second straight Palm Springs Golf Championship title. “Golf is hard, no doubt about it. A win in your 40’s, such a great feeling. It’s why we practice, and work at this crazy game. I love playing tournament golf against the best. Can’t wait for the next one!”
Brasfield finished with a 54-hole total of 214, four shots ahead of Cornell.
ABOUT THE Palm Springs Golf Championships
The Palm Springs Golf Championships is the newest
national amateur golf tournament on the West Coast,
the heart of the prime Palm Springs golf season.
The tournament field will consist of a Gross Division
and four Net Divisions: Young Gunz (men under age
Galz (women under age 50), Senior Men (50 and
over), and Senior Women (50 and over). Divisions
are based on
the entrant’s age as of the first day of the
The Gross Division will play the Nicklaus and
and Stadium courses at PGA West. Net Divisions will
Dunes and Mountain courses at La Quinta Resort &
Club, and another course to be determined.
There is only one flight in the Gross Division and
they will play the Blue or Championship Tees. The
Division flights will play from the red tees. The
Young Gunz flights will play from either the Black or
The Senior Men’s flights will play from either the
White or Gold Tees. A player’s flight assignment in
Gunz and Senior Men divisions will be a function of
the tees a player elects to play and then by the
handicap. The Competition Committee is flighting
these divisions by tees selected, not by age.
The Palm Springs Golf Championships will also serve
national qualifier for the USGC King's Cup National
View Complete Tournament Information