Michael Hopper wins the 2016 Southwest PGA Match Play Championship

After a stroke play event and five matches in three days, Michael Hopper captured his second Southwest PGA Match Play Championship title defeating Blayne Hobbs 3 & 2 in the final match held at Desert Forest Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hopper, 32, PGA assistant golf professional at Lookout Mountain Golf Club, quickly jumped out to a 3-up lead over Hobbs in the championship match after making three consecutive birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6. Hobbs had to take unplayable penalties on Nos. 2 & 4 after his tee shot on both holes ended up in the desert areas.

Hopper’s lead was short-lived as Hobbs, 51, PGA teaching professional at Reid/West Golf Academies (Deer Valley), made three consecutive birdies of his own on Nos. 6, 7 and 8 and trimmed his deficit to 1 down after eight holes.

The 14-seed Hopper made birdie on the par 5, 9th hole and at the turn, was 2-up as both players headed to the back nine.

After Nos. 10 and 11 were halved, Hobbs, the 12-seed, won the 12th hole and was only 1 down in the match with six holes remaining.

Hobbs made a great par to halve No. 13 after his tee shot landed in a bush in the desert area to the right of the fairway. He hit his ball with a hybrid club out of the bush and back into the fairway and then stuck his third shot to 6 inches for a conceded par to remain 1 down in match.

Hopper went on to make birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 to go 3-up and, after both players halved the par 5, 16th hole, he captured the championship title 3 & 2.

The victory was Hopper’s second match play title (2011) and third major championship in the Southwest PGA. He won the 2014 Southwest PGA Championship, which earned him an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2015 Waste Management Open. He also won the 2014 Southwest PGA Assistant Championship.

In the semifinal matches played earlier in the day, Hopper defeated the 7-seed Jeff Yurkiewicz, 42, PGA teaching professional  at Grayhawk Golf Club, in 20 holes. In the other semifinal, Hobbs defeated the top seed Dennis Downs, 33, PGA director of instruction at Reid/West Golf Academies (Pebble Creek), 2 & 1.

Special thanks match play sponsors Garia Luxury Golf Cars and Greg Norman Collection for their support of the Championship and the entire membership and staff at Desert Forest Golf Club for their hospitality and generosity in hosting the event.

For more information about the Southwest PGA, visit http://www.southwestpga.com or on social media at http://www.facebook.com/swsectionpga.