Hoover’s Neil Thompson plays in Senior PGA Championship

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

FRISCO, TX – Local PGA Club Professional Neil Thompson travelled to Frisco, Texas to take the course in the 2023 Senior PGA Championship on May 25 and 26 at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco for the second time.

The reigning Alabama-Northwest Florida Senior Player of the Year earned a chance through qualifiers to play against PGA Tour Champions pros like Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington and Miguel Angel Jiménez, many of whom also played at the year’s first major, the Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Hoover from May 11-14.

Thompson, 53, shot 15-over-par on Thursday and Friday and missed the cut to advance to the weekend.

In his first round, Thompson shot a birdie on hole three to gain early momentum. While he also birdied on the 16th hole, he recorded two double bogies and finished the day with a score of 77, which was five-over-par.

He couldn’t recover in the second round as he failed to finish a hole under par and shot an 82, missing the cut by 11 strokes in his second PGA Tour Champions tournament.

It’s an impressive showing because Thompson doesn’t get as many chances to play rounds of golf as the tour regulars he played against. His job as a PGA Club Professional means he teaches golf lessons during the day at Timberline Golf Club in Calera.

Thompson owns and operates Thompson Golf Academy in Hoover, and he is the PGA Director of Instruction as a PGA Club Professional.

PGA Club Professionals can play in qualifying tournaments to reach their age group’s PGA Championship. Michael Block most notably accomplished it, and he became an overnight sensation when he finished in the top 15 at the 2023 PGA Championship on May 21.

A former junior college All-American golfer, he finished tied-for-28th in the 2020 Senior PGA Professional Championship to qualify for the 2021 Senior PGA Championship, where he made the cut and finished 78th.

Later that year, he finished tied-for-36th in a Senior British Open qualifying tournament and also made it to the final stage of the PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament.

After winning the Alabama-Northwest Florida region’s PGA Senior Championship, he improved on his finish at the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship to finish tied-for-24th. With the finish, he qualified for the 2023 Senior PGA Championship by earning a spot on the Corebridge Financial PGA Team.

Despite not making the cut, Thompson achieved a lifelong goal of playing in a major tournament and has memories he’ll cherish for the rest of his life.

Stricker won the Senior PGA Championship over Harrington in a playoff to win his second major of the year.