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‘Catch some lightning in a bottle’: Former Gardner golf pro to play in PGA Championship

By admin May15,2024

Ben Egan, a 2003 Gardner High graduate and former head professional of Gardner Municipal Golf Course, will tee it up beginning Sunday in the 2024 PGA Professional Championship at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco in Frisco, Texas.

The 39-year-old Egan, now the head pro at Bay Club Mattapoisett, earned an alternate spot for the tournament via last year’s New England PGA Section Championship, finishing in 16th place behind winner Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, N.H. Last month Egan was notified that he had made the final field in Texas. The tournament will be televised on Golf Channel.

The PGA Professional Championship field of 312 will be cut to 90 after two rounds at Frisco PGA, and the top 20 finishers will advance to the PGA Championship, one of the majors in professional golf, May 16-19 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

A view from the green of Gardner Municipal's par four, 9th hole.A view from the green of Gardner Municipal's par four, 9th hole.

A view from the green of Gardner Municipal’s par four, 9th hole.

Reached by phone at his home in Hopkinton before he left for Texas, Egan noted that he will arrive in Dallas, near Frisco and will play practice rounds at the two courses on which the tournament will be held.

“As a PGA Professional, making the field for this tournament has always been a goal of mine,” said Egan, who, as head pro, succeeded his late father, J. Michael Egan at GMGC in 2009. “Maybe I can catch some lightning in a bottle. Lately, my game has been pretty good, and I’m driving the ball straight.”

Egan, who, after Gardner High, went on to study professional golf management at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., graduating in 2007, added that in the last year he has become dedicated to hitting the gym for vigorous workouts and also spending hours working on his golf swing.

Ben Egan follows through after his drive on the 12th hole during a tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg last year.Ben Egan follows through after his drive on the 12th hole during a tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg last year.

Ben Egan follows through after his drive on the 12th hole during a tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg last year.

“I’ve dropped about 20 pounds, and that’s been a good thing,” said Egan, who will join a field in Frisco that includes Michael Block, the 46-year-old club professional from Southern California, who stunned the golf world at last year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y, and finished in the top 15.

Egan said the courses for the PGA Professional Championship in Frisco will be set up at around 7,500 yards, a challenging distance. Caddying for Egan in Texas will be his friend Mark Manca, a top golfer from GMGC and 1982 Gardner High graduate, known for his excellent looping skills in many past tournaments.

Using knowledge from Bay Club’s assistant pro John Paesani and general manager Greg Yeomans, who have played the course in Frisco, Egan said, “the greens are big, but they have a lot of elevated levels and plateaus. Like every golf tournament, it all comes down to the short game and especially the putting part.”

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Before becoming the pro at Bay Club, Egan was the first assistant at Concord Country Club, and also the senior assistant and tournament director at the Kiawah Island Club in South Carolina, and also first assistant at the Vineyard Golf Club.

Egan sits on the board of directors of the NEPGA as the District Director from Cape Cod and the current honorary president of the Cape Cod Chapter. In 2022, he was awarded the Dutch Wessner Cape Cod Chapter Player of the Year, capping off a season that included a victory in the Cape Cod Match Play Championship.

Egan realizes that making the top 20 at Frisco and advancing to a major championship on the PGA Tour, the PGA Championship at Valhalla, would be a dream, but one he would love to make a reality.

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“Last year a two-under-par total for 72 holes made it to the big dance,” so you just never know,” he said.

And asked if he had ever played Valhalla in Kentucky, the venue for next month’s PGA, Egan laughed and said, “No, but I have played the course on an indoor golf simulator.”

This article originally appeared on Gardner News: Gardner High alum earns spot in 2024 PGA Professional Championship

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