Headline: An Historic Season in 2016 for Winchester Native and Windham CC Assistant Pro Rich Berberian, Jr. Set the Stage For His PGA Tour Debut This Past Weekend

For Immediate Release: February 20, 2017

Rich Berberian's victory in June at the 49th PGA Professional National Championship (below) set the stage for his PGA Tour debut in 2017.

Needham, MA — Although he may not have been holding the ultimate prize at the end of the day, the experience was worth the journey.

Rich Berberian, Jr., a Winchester native who currently serves as an assistant professional at Windham Country Club (NH), took advantage of his six exemptions into a PGA Tour event over the past two weekends when he competed in AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and then this past weekend’s 2017 Genesis Open held at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.

During those two weeks of PGA Tour action, Berberian turned in solid performances in what were his first career PGA Tour experiences.

At the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Berberian posted three rounds in the 70s including a third-round score of 2-under par 70 at Spyglass Hill Golf Course, which featured a back-nine score of 4-under par 32.

As a result of his performance that day, Berberian made the modified cut and earned $14,184.

This past weekend, Berberian was in the star-studded PGA Tour field once again as he competed at the Genesis Open. Although a first-round score of 5-over par 77 derailed his chances of making the cut, he was able to make the PGA Tour highlight reel thanks to a 34-foot eagle putt scored on the Riviera CC’s 1st hole on day two. That eagle was part of an impressive 2-under par 69 round for Berberian.

CLICK HERE to watch his eagle as captured by the PGA Tour.

The road to California began last June for Berberian when he captured the 49th PGA Professional National Championship at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York. His victory earned him the Walter Hagen Cup as well as six emptions into PGA Tour events.

Berberian was born in Winchester, but has lived most of his life in Derry, New Hampshire. He currently resides in Hooksett where he spends his time serving the membership of Windham Country Club as an assistant golf professional.

Last summer, Berberian made the putt of his life when he rallied to win the PGA Professional Championship by rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory. Berberian shot a 3-under 69 at Turning Stone's Atunyote Golf Club, overcoming a triple bogey on the par-5 12th with birdies on the par-4 13th, par-3 16th and the par-5 18th. He finished at 11-under 277.

As a result of the victory, Berberian earned $75,000 and became the second New England PGA Section Member to win the Walter Hagen Cup since Bob Lendzion in 1986. Berberian also became the second-youngest winner, just 15 days older than Howell Fraser in his 1968 victory.

It was indeed a year to remember for the 29 year old as he went on to claim New England PGA Player of the Year honors and then was named the 2016 OMEGA PGA Professional Professional Player of the Year. Berberian joined Mike San Filippo (1993) as the only New England PGA Members to capture the national award.

Berberian finished with 945 total points, while two-time PGA Professional Champion Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, New York, was runner-up with 873.988. The second top finisher with New England ties was Adam Rainaud of South Hadley, Massachusetts who finished fourth in the 2016 PGA Professional Player of the Year Standings standings with 847.500 points.

Upon learning of his Player of the Year victory, Berberian said this of his birdie putt made back in June:

“It’s the reason I won Player of the Year,” said Berberian. “That putt doesn’t go in, who knows what happens in the playoff? That putt was a heckuva lot more than winning a tournament. It was winning the year. It was great for my confidence, that I could be able to stick it out when things are not going so great; to be able to stay strong, keep fighting and that anything can happen.”

Berberian continued, “I’m glad that I have this (PGA Professional Player of the Year Award). This was a race that became very tight at the end. I may not have the chance to win it again.”

Berberian is a member of the New England Professional Golfers' Association (New England PGA), an association based out of Boylston which is dedicated to promoting the game of golf. It is one of the 41 sections that comprise the PGA of America.

We salute Rich on a spectacular season and all of the PGA professionals who serve golfers across New England.