Michael Hopper wins the 2017 Southwest PGA Match Play Championship

NOTE: Michael Hopper wins his third career Southwest PGA Match Play Championship title (2011, 2016), joining John Jackson (1976, 1978, 1988, 1993) and Tom Tatum (1982, 1985, 1992) as the only Professionals to win three or more in the history of the Championship. Hopper is also the first player to win back-to-back Match Play titles since Frank Boynton (1979,1980). Photo Courtesy Mike Schoaf/Southwest PGA

After a final match that at times resembled a boxing match with both participants exchanging blows, in the end it was Michael Hopper who came out as the victor. He captured his second consecutive Southwest PGA Match Play title and third overall after defeating Marty Jertson 1-up in the final match at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree, Arizona.

As he did in the final match last year, Hopper, 33, PGA assistant golf professional at Lookout Mountain G.C., jumped out to an early 3-up lead through five holes after Jerton made bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5. He had to take unplayable penalties on both holes after his tee shots ended up in the desert areas.

Hopper’s 3-up lead would disappear after losing Nos. 6, 7 and 8, the same exact three holes he lost in the 2016 Match Play final against Blaine Hobbs after Hobbs rattled off three straight birdies. This time it was Jertson, 36, PGA Professional and senior design engineer at PING Golf, who went par-birdie-birdie and got the match all square.

The 5-seeded Jertson hit an errant tee shot on No. 9 and had to take an unplayable penalty, resulting in a bogey. With Hopper making par, he was 1-up as both players headed to the back nine.

After Hopper made birdie on No. 10 to go 2-up, Jertson came right back and won Nos. 11 and 12 to once again get the match back to even.

After both players halved No. 13 with pars, Jertson hit his tee shot on the 14th hole in the desert on the left, forcing him to take another unplayable penalty. Hopper made par and won the hole to go back up in the match.

Hopper’s lead was once again short-lived as his tee shot on No. 15 found the desert on the right and an unplayable penalty to follow. His next shot stayed along the right side and in the desert and could not be found, resulting in him conceding the hole to Jertson and the match was all square.

Hopper went on to win No. 16 and go 1-up in the match, after making par to Jertson’s bogey. Both players halved the par 3, 17th hole and par 4, 18th hole, giving Hopper the Championship title 1-up.

The victory is Hopper’s third match play title (2011, 2016) and fourth major championship in the Southwest PGA. He won the 2014 Southwest PGA Championship, which earned him an exemption into the 2015 PGA Tour’s Waste Management  Phoenix Open. He also won the 2014 Southwest PGA Assistant Championship.

In the semifinal matches played earlier in the day, Hopper defeated the 2-seed Craig Hocknull, 42, PGA Director of Instruction at Outback Golf Academy, 6 & 5. In the other semifinal, Jertson defeated the 17-seed Brant Kummerfeld, 31, PGA apprentice assistant professional at Desert Forest G.C., 1-up.

Special thanks to sponsors Greg Norman Collection and Mizuno for their support of the Southwest PGA Match Play Championship, and the entire membership and staff at Desert Forest G.C. for their hospitality and generosity in hosting the event.

For more information about the Southwest PGA, visit http://www.southwestpga.com