With a birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Eric Manning edged Ryan McGinnis to win the 2020 Central New York PGA Assistants Championship on Aug. 28 at Lakeshore 1860.
Manning fired a 4-under-par 68 in the second round for a 3-under 141 total to force a playoff with three-time champion McGinnis (69-72—141).
On No. 18, McGinnis (Turning Stone) was on in two but missed his birdie putt while Manning (Elm Tree GC) sank a putt from the left fringe for the win.
Manning’s tee shot landed near a tree root leaving him with a difficult second shot. Using a 9-iron, Manning executed a clutch shot to the fringe.
“With the root near my ball, I couldn’t get it up,” he said. “I knew I had to hit a decent shot to hopefully keep the playoff going. To make it from off the fringe was just a bonus.”
With the win, Manning capped off a strong season in which he qualified for three national PGA Professional events. He won his fifth career Section Championship at Seven Oaks Aug. 18 and finished third at the Section Senior Championship at Teugega CC July 27. Manning is the first player to qualify for three PGA events since Rob Phelps in 2012.
“To win two and qualify for three….I did better this year than I thought I could do,” said Manning, who has won the Assistants Championship multiple times and finished second last year.
The victory earned Manning $1,125 and a trip to the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship in November at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Manning started the second round four strokes back of first-round leader McGinnis. Manning then got hot on the back nine, recording four birdies on his last six holes for a 68.
“I was playing good all day but I couldn’t putt,” Manning said. “Then all of a sudden I knocked them in. That’s the way golf is. I’m more than happy with the way I played today.”
After an opening round of 69, McGinnis had his chances to keep the lead but a number of birdie putts failed to fall. McGinnis, who won three straight titles in 2017, 2016 and 2015, could only muster one birdie in the second round to finish at 72.
McGinnis also finished second at the 2020 CNY PGA Stroke Play Championship July 20, losing to Michael Deuel in a playoff at Mark Twain Golf Club.
Two-time defending champion Dan Molter finished third. Rob Phelps (Bellevue CC) and Jonny Petrin (Lakeshore 1860), in his first Assistants Championship, finished tied for fourth.