The best golfer making himself at home within 10 miles of Muirfield Village Golf Club on Monday wasn’t practicing for the Memorial Tournament.
Bob Sowards, director of instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio, was back home in Dublin after tying for fifth Sunday at the KitchenAide Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
While most of the top golfers in the world were still thousands of miles away, Sowards was celebrating the second-best financial finish of his career. The 52-year-old club pro earned $106,000 after a tie for fifth, which he told the PGA of America would help pay for some of his daughter’s college.
“Tuition is expensive,” Sowards said, explaining that he almost skipped the trip to Tulsa to attend the high school graduation ceremony of his daughter, Jordan, who will attend Arizona State in the fall. But his wife, Lynn, had other ideas, telling him a high finish could defray college costs.
“She (Lynn) rules the roost,” Sowards said. “I pretty much do what I’m told.”
Mission accomplished, even if at one point it appeared Sowards might be able to pay for Jordan’s entire college career. He led the championship by two strokes on Friday before struggling down the stretch to end the second round tied for 18th. But a Saturday-Sunday comeback jumped him all the way to fifth, tied with former Masters champion Mike Weir and John Riegger. Tournament winner Alex Cejka collected $585,000.
“I won $120,000 when I finished ninth in Greensboro on the PGA Tour in 2008, but this one is the biggest since I turned 50,” Sowards said. “It changes things knowing I can compete with the best seniors in the world now.”
Sowards began Sunday’s round tied for 10th and completed it tops among the nine club pros at Southern Hills, the best finish by a club pro at the Senior PGA since 2009.
Alex Cejka (left), tournament champion poses with Bob Sowards after the Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 30, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images