Stuart Smith, PGA Director of Golf at Somersett Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nevada, is one of the 35 Club Professionals here this week at Southern Hills who advanced through last year’s Senior PGA Professional Championship. Smith will be 60 in December, and is one of a handful of over-50 pros who are doubling up by competing back-to-back at Kiawah Island (PGA) and Southern Hills (Senior PGA).

“This week makes me happy,” Smith said before departing South Carolina last week, “and I’ve been looking forward to Tulsa, where it maybe won’t be so windy. A little shorter yardage would be nice, too.”

Smith missed the cut at the PGA, but had an incredible highlight on Friday. He hooked a tee shot badly on the difficult par-3 17th, his ball finishing in a greenside bunker on the 10th hole. From there, he faced a 50-yard shot which finished past the pin, just short of the water, and then he drained his 20-foot putt for par. The gallery roared in approval. “It takes a terrible shot to be a hero sometimes,” Smith said, smiling.

Smith, who played at UCLA and turned pro in 1984, is a fantastic player. In 2019, he had a Northern California PGA Section sweep, winning the Professional Championship, Senior Professional Championship, Match Play Championship and Stroke Play Championship. He has played in three PGA Championships and this is his sixth start at the KitchenAid Senior PGA. He has made the cut in three of his five Senior PGA starts. He will have his 24-year-old son, Jordan, who caddied for him at the 2013 PGA at Oak Hill, on the bag this week at Southern Hills; last week, his other son, 20-year-old Parker, caddied for him at the Ocean Course.

“That’s my highlight,” he said of his PGA experience. “Now they both have a PGA under their belt.” Jordan was there last week, as was his mom (Stuart’s wife), and 12 members were even there to watch him at Kiawah Island. Cool week.

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