For Hometown News
Rod Perry of Port Orange has earned the 2012 PGA Professional Player of the Year award.
It was the first national award for Perry, 39, who has set several milestones with his season-ending honor. He is the first left-handed player, the first PGA Golf Management University graduate and the second North Florida PGA member to be named Professional Player of the Year.
Perry will be honored June 21 in Sunriver, Ore., at the 46th PGA Professional National Championship presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz USA and OMEGA.
Perry, in his first season as a PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, finished tied for second in the PGA Professional National Championship at Seaside, Calif. He also won his third North Florida PGA Section Championship in August, and two PGA Tournament Series titles in Port St. Lucie and was the No. 1 Series money-winner.
"It has been quite a year, a big job change for me going from director of instruction to head professional," said Perry, a native of York, Pa., who has served since April as PGA head professional at Crane Lakes. "With the new job, you're playing expectations are less. I ended up with a good National Championship finish, tying for second at a place in the country that I absolutely love going to play."
Perry, a 1996 graduate of Mississippi State University, said his goals were to "play well enough to finish in the Top 20 and have a good chance of making the PGA Cup Team. I enjoyed playing a course like (Bayonet Black Horse), which was tough, but was the type of golf that favors me. I have been able to play better on the tougher courses."
Perry follows former North Florida PGA member Brett Upper (1990), then of Clearwater, to win the national award. Perry credited his surge to the top of the final standings after receiving the endorsement of his employer, the Becks family of Daytona Beach, owners of Crane Lakes, and from Director of Business Development Craig Wells.
Cleared to compete in the season-ending PGA Tournament Series, Perry went on to cap his big season in style.
"It was a tough three weeks, traveling two hours to compete in Port St. Lucie in the PGA Tournament Series and head back after each event," Perry said. "Thankfully my club gave me the opportunity to compete for a once-in-a-career opportunity. It is an honor to join the many decorated players who have their names on this award. I started getting serious for golf later than most, around 18 of 19 years old. I ended up doing something I love."