04 Dec 17
Winning Professional Paul Broadhurst (right) with tournament organiser John Hooper.
For the 24th consecutive year a strong field assembled in the desert playground of the Palm Springs Desert Resorts of Southern California to compete in The Pro-Am Tour’s longest running event – The California Classic Pro-Am, one of the PGA's premier winter pro-ams.
The pro-am was staged over four of the desert’s best courses, including two former PGA Tour venues: PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and The Classic Club, along with La Quinta Dunes Course & The Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort. All the courses were presented in magnificent condition, and with perfect sunny weather and temperatures in the low eighties, all was set for some low scoring.
Fresh from completing his second season on the PGA Champions Tour, former Ryder Cup star and defending Champion Paul Broadhurst shot an opening 67 at La Quinta Dunes for a one shot lead over St George's Hill's Andy Raitt, with Lee-on-the-Solent's James Ablett one shot further back in third. However, sensational back to back rounds of 65 at PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and The Classic Club would allow Broadhurst to blow the field away for the second year running.
With one round remaining at the beautiful Clive Clark designed Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort, Broadhurst was really just left targeting his tournament scoring record of 25 under par. However, having reached 26 under par on the 71st green, a rare double bogey at the last would frustrate him, and see him finish on 24 under.
A superb final round 64 by James Ablett would see him overtake Raitt to secure second place, but both were left in the wake of another superb performance in the desert by the former British Senior Open Champion Broadhurst.
Despite missing the professional individual scoring record, Broadhurst's dominant performance powered his team of Alan Kennedy, Mike Morris & Philip Smith to victory with a record team score of 72 under. Martin Woodbridge's team won and exciting battle for second, just pipping James Ablett's team by a single shot.
In addition to the Pro-Am a Welcome Challenge Day was held at The Players Course at Indian Wells and was won by Andy Raitt & Jason Kelly who both scored 40 stableford points. Ablett & Broadhurst tied for third place with 37 points.
Following on from Benn Barham's hole-in-one a week earlier in the Pro-Am Tour's Arizona event, the 28th in the history of The Pro-Am Tour, the organizers did not have to wait long for the 29th. James Ablett (left) duly obliged with an ace at the Par 3 13th hole at La Quinta Dunes Course.
The awards presentation was held outdoors under the stars at The Hyatt Regency Resort Indian Wells and on behalf of the PGA Professionals Paul Broadhurst thanked all the amateur players for supporting The Pro-Am Tour events which continue to deliver an exceptional golf experience and provide professional golfers with the unique opportunity to compete at world class tournament venues all over the USA.
Tournament Organizers John & Alison Hooper of The American Golf Holiday thanked all the competitors for their continued support and announced their plans for their 25th annual event in the California desert, 24th November – 1st December 2018. A special celebration evening is planned to mark the milestone and the Hoopers are hoping to welcome as many previous participants as possible for their popular event which was first staged in 1994.
The California Classic is just one of a series of high quality Pro-Am Tour events organised by The American Golf Holiday, others include The Arizona Classic Pro-Am, The Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am, The Pinehurst Classic Pro-Am, The Sawgrass Classic Pro-Am, and The Pro-Am Tour at Pebble Beach. Further information is available at www.pro-amtour.com, or contact John Hooper at Tel. 023 8046 5885