Just nine days ago, Bill Hook, the head professional at Knickerbocker Country Club carded an 87 to shoot himself out of contention at the U.S.. Open sectional qualifier at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit.
Fast forward to Wednesday, June 15, and Hook is near the top of the New Jersey PGA section after shooting rounds of 69, 72 and 70 to easily win the Lincoln Charity Clambake at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone.
Hook, 31, finished five-under for the tournament to win by seven strokes and claim his first Clambake title.
He fired a 69 at Black Oak on Monday, and 72 and 70 at Hamilton Farm on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Daniel Kinn of Acushnet Company continued his impressive summer with a tie for second finish at two-over with Alex Beach of Ridgewood Country Club.
“This is the biggest win for me. I went out there trying to redeem myself and not shoot another 87 and redeem myself, I did. It’s a lot easier to laugh at that 87 now,” said Hook, who also won the New Jersey PGA Head Pro championship on April 25 at Manasquan River and now stands in second place in the NJPGA Player of the Year standings.
With the win, Hook jumps to second place in the POY race with 1,231 points, while Kinn maintains his lead with 1,738 points.
“I came in with a different mindset this week. Instead of playing a tired round of golf, I want to play excited rounds of golf,” Hook stated.
Hook began his round Wednesday with a birdie on the third hole and an eagle on the ninth to put him eight strokes ahead heading to the back nine.
He said an up-and-down at the par-5 11th at Hamilton Farm was very important.
“I hooked a fairway shot into a hazard, and after a drop, I had a 25-footer for par. When I made that, it really kept me in it,” said the Penn State graduate and native of Hawthorne, N.J. "I'm surprised to win by that much. I didn't see a leaderboard until the 18th hole. At that point, I knew I couldn't do anything too stupid.""
He credited playing partner, amateur Michael Sean McGeary of Knickerbocker, for “being there to pick me up the whole time.”
Next for Hook is the 49th PGA Professional National Championship at Turning Stone Resort, in Verona, N.Y., June 26-29. The top 20 will play in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol , July 21-24.
“My mindset will be to go have a good time and enjoy the experience,” Hook said.