Brandon Harkins and Tony Verna win Straight Down Fall Classic

Posted at 12:16 AM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 03:16:14-05

Brandon Harkins and Tony Verna have a lot to celebrate: a wedding, a new child and a victory in the Straight Down Fall Classic.

Harkins’ wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, a boy named Jackson, three weeks ago. Verna got married on Oct. 19. Harkins was a groomsman.

They added a victory in the Straight Down Fall Classic on Nov. 17. The pair shot 14-under 129 (63-66) in this scratch best-ball pro-am to finish two shots ahead of two-time Fall Classic champion Edward Loar and his amateur partner, former U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Todd Mitchell.

Scott Heyn won low club pro honors after finishing third with amateur partner Corby Segal. Heyn and Segal won last year’s Fall Classic, their third win in this event since 2012. They finished three shots back this year. Two other teams tied for third: the duo of former PGA Tour winner Rod Pampling and the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ, and longtime Tour player Ricky Barnes and his amateur partner, Andrew Medley.

Harkins, who’s played the past two seasons on the PGA Tour, made 14 birdies this weekend. He credited Verna’s steady play for freeing him up on San Luis Obispo’s slick putting surfaces.

“I putted pretty well,” Harkins said. “Having Tony in each hole with me, it eased the stress, so I think it made it easier on the greens, because the greens are so tricky. These greens are some of the best, if not the best, greens I’ve ever putted.”

Harkins and Verna started the final round with a one-shot lead. Verna made their first birdie on the par-4 second hole. Harkins contributed two more on the front nine to move them to 11 under.

They were in a three-way tie for the lead when they made the turn. Pampling and Happ and the father-and-son team of Doug and Greg Bauman also were 11 under.

Harkins made birdie on the two par-5s that open San Luis Obispo Country Club’s back nine and added another birdie on 15. Both players bogeyed the par-4 16th to cut their lead to a single stroke, but Harkins birdied the final hole to clinch a two-shot victory.

The teams led by former PGA Tour winners Kenny Perry and Arron Oberholser tied for sixth place at 10 under par. Perry played with amateur Kris Marshall, while Oberholser played with former San Jose State teammate Trent Tessler.

Harkins and Verna have been friends since junior golf. They played for rival high schools before playing college golf for separate California schools. Harkins played at Chico State, while Verna was a member of UC Santa Barbara’s team. They traveled together for a season on PGA Tour Canada, as well. Verna is a reinstated amateur and now lives in San Francisco, where he’s won two of the past three club championships at Olympic Club. Harkins has four career top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.

This was the third time Harkins and Verna have played the Straight Down Fall Classic. The third time turned out to be a charm.

-Provided by Straight Down Fall Classic