Michael Block, the Southern California club professional who captivated the golf world with a run at the PGA Championship including a nationally televised hole in one last May, has earned another start in The American Express PGA Tour event in January.
Block, from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, earned the berth in the La Quinta tournament by winning the PGA of Southern California’s section championship Wednesday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Block started the third and final round one shot off the lead, then fired a 6-under 66 in the final round for a three-day total of 11-under 205, four shots better than runner-up Steve Saunders of Temecula Creek Golf Club.
The win, Block’s second consecutive section title and his fourth in seven years, earns Block a berth into the two non-invitational PGA Tour events played in the section, The American Express and the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
Block played in The American Express last January and shot a 7-under 65 in the first round at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West. Block eventually missed the 54-hole cut in the La Quinta event.
Block made headlines last May when he was the only one of 20 club professionals to make the 36-hole cut in the PGA Championship at Oak Hills Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. He started the final round tied for eighth before finishing 15th, good enough to earn an automatic exemption into the 2024 PGA Championship. In the final round, paired with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, Block made a hole in one on the par-3 15th hole.
The 2023 PGA marked the fifth time Block had qualified for that event, while also playing in two U.S. Opens.
The top 10 players and ties from this year’s 54-hole event at Sherwood Country Club, advance to the PGA’s National Professional championship. The top 20 players from that event earn a berth into next year’s PGA Championship. No desert golfer finished in the top 10 and ties this year, with Geoff Dean of PGA West in La Quinta and Nate Williams of Hideaway Golf Club in La Quinta tying for 14th at 8-over, two shots out of a qualifying berth.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: PGA star Michael Block wins SCPGA champion, berth into American Express