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PGA Championship Golf

Alex Beach watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during a practice round at the PGA Championship in 2017 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. Beach, a graduate of the University of Nebraska's Professional Golf Management program, won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday to qualify for next month's PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York. 

A golfer with Nebraska ties has won a national championship for the second consecutive year.

Alex Beach, who graduated from Nebraska's professional golf management program in 2012, won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday. 

The event, played this year at Belfair in South Carolina, serves as the national championship for the top teaching professionals in the United States.

Beach's win in the tournament came one year after Omaha native Ryan Vermeer, the head professional at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, won the event.

Beach was nearly a wire-to-wire leader. He was one shot out of first after Sunday's opening round when he fired a 5-under 67, and moved to the top of the leaderboard with a second-round 68.

He was still tied at the top after a 73 Tuesday as he and Danny Balin opened up a five-shot lead on the rest of the field, then shot the third-lowest round of the day, a 3-under 69, Wednesday to win by two over Balin.

Beach is a Minnesota native who currently serves as the assistant professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. Previously, Beach was an assistant professional at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

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With the victory, Beach qualifies for next month's PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York. It is the second PGA Championship appearance for Beach, who also qualified in 2017. 

"This game, it's never going to give it all to you all at once, and you're going to lose a lot more than you're going to win," Beach told the Journal Star in 2017. "That's the nature of this game. When you get to this level, everybody's good, but you have to just time it right and have a little bit of luck fall your way."

Beach will be joined at Bethpage by Vermeer, who vaulted up the leaderboard over the tournament's final 36 holes to finish in a tie for eighth. It will be Vermeer's third consecutive appearance in the PGA Championship.

Vermeer's third-round 69 got him into the top 10, and an even-par 72 Wednesday secured his spot. The top 20 finishers in the event qualify for the PGA Championship.

White makes record-breaking appearance

Long-time Lincoln PGA pro Jim White, currently the manager at The Fairways in Lincoln, made his record-setting 30th appearance in the PGA Professional Championship this week.

White, one of the most decorated golfers in Nebraska history, was the first pro at Firethorn Golf Club and has been a PGA professional for more than 50 years. He is a native of Hastings.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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