The low 35 scorers will earn a berth into the 2020 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan, May 19-24. The top five finishers will earn an exemption into the final stage of the 2019 PGA Tour Champions National Finals. And those who finish in the top eight, including ties, will automatically qualify for next year’s Championship, to be held Oct. 15-18, 2020, at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Forty-two states are represented in the field. Sowards, the reigning Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year, is one of nine past Champions competing for the Leo Fraser Trophy.
All players will compete on the Fazio Foothills and Coore-Crenshaw Cliffside Courses Thursday and Friday, to be followed by a cut to the low 90 scorers and ties. Following Saturday’s round, a second cut will be made to the low 70 scorers and ties. The third and final rounds will be played on the Fazio Foothills Course. In addition to the Leo Fraser Trophy, named after the 16th president of the PGA of America, players are competing for the $300,000 purse including the winner’s share of $21,500.
Sowards is one of 10 past champions in the field, and joined by Pete Oakley of Palm City, Florida (1999); Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Florida (2002, ’05); Jim White of Lincoln, Nebraska (2004); Jeff Coston of Blaine, Washington (2006); Kirk Hanefeld of South Hamilton, Massachusetts (2008, ’11), Robert Thompson of Huntsville, Texas (2010), Frank Esposito Jr. of Old Bridge, New Jersey (2014, ’17), John DalCorobbo of Speedway, Indiana (2015) and Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah (2016).
Women contestants include Sherry Andonian of La Quinta, California, who is making her second straight appearance in the Championship, and will be joined by Michelle Murphy of Sherrill, New York.