FSU men’s golf alum Ben Cook to compete in 2019 PGA Championship

Ben Cook has earned an opportunity to compete in the PGA Championship set for May 16-19 at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y. (Ferris Athletics Photo)

By Ferris State Athletics

BIG RAPIDS — Former Ferris State University men’s golf standout Ben Cook has earned an opportunity to compete in the PGA Championship set for May 16-19 at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Cook, who helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2017 NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals in his final collegiate campaign, placed tied for fourth this past week at the 52nd annual PGA Professional Championship in South Carolina to earn his spot in one of golf’s most prestigious events.

An assistant pro at Blythefield Country Club in the Grand Rapids area, Cook is among 20 club pros who received a spot in the upcoming PGA Championship. He originally qualified for the PGA Professional Championship by finishing atop the leaderboard in the Michigan PGA Championship last summer.

This year’s PGA Championship event will be the 101st playing of the tournament, which started in 1916. Regularly featuring the strongest field based on the Official World Golf Ranking, the PGA is the only all-professional major championship with 156 players competing annually for one of golf’s most prized possessions, the Wanamaker Trophy.

The PGA Championship will begin with first-round play on May 16. Bethpage Black will hsot the PGA Championship for the first time, but the course previously hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens and is slated to host the 2024 Ryder Cup. Live coverage of the event will air on both TNT and CBS.

As a senior at Ferris State two years ago, Cook claimed 2017 Division II PING All-America recognition. He led the Bulldogs to a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) runner-up finish and a top 10 national ranking during the regular season. The standout claimed GLIAC Player of the Year honors for the second time in his collegiate career after previously earning the distinction in 2015 when he was also chosen to the Division II PING All-America Team.

A two-time all-region choice, Cook compiled eight top-10 tournament finishes for the Bulldogs his final year, including winning the Kyle Ryman Invitational hosted by Tiffin University. He placed among the top three golfers in five events and tied for sixth overall at the league championships. The four-year letterwinner led FSU to five tournament championships and a 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

Following the regular season, Cook helped lead the Bulldogs to one of their best postseasons ever. He finished seventh individually at the 2017 NCAA Division II Midwest/Central Super Regional in Nebraska by carding a 206 total over three rounds. His performance included a school-record eight-under par 64 total in the final round as the Bulldogs earned runner-up honors in the event. It also featured an ace on the part three, fifth hole at the Awarii Dunes Golf Course.

In his final season, Cook went on to finish tied for 15th individually with a 214 total at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Florida after shooting a 73 in the final round. He shot a 68 in round one before closing the tourney with back-to-back 73’s over the final two days of stroke play.

His play helped Ferris State advance to the national quarterfinals by finishing seventh overall in the stroke play portion of the national championships in Kissimmee. FSU was the only school outside of the state of Florida or South Carolina to finish among the top seven teams in the country in stroke play. The Bulldogs fell to eventual national champion Florida Southern in the round of eight.

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