News

Greg Bisconti admitted he wasn't sure what to expect this week at Turning Stone, except for great competition. (Photo: PGA of America)
Greg Bisconti admitted he wasn't sure what to expect this week at Turning Stone, except for great competition. (Photo: PGA of America)

Notes and Quotes

Four players come up aces at Turning Stone. Plus, Ron Philo discusses what the victory means to him, Lee Rinker looks ahead to the PGA Championship, Jeffrey Cranford talks about the wind, Sam Arnold appreciates his caddie, and more.

By Bob Denney, PGA of America

VERONA, N.Y. -- Ron Philo Jr. of Westchester, N.Y., recorded his third career hole-in-one Sunday, holing out a 4-iron from 199 yards on the par-3 third hole at Atunyote Golf Club. It was Philo's third ace in competition and the fourth hole-in-one of this week's PGA Professional National Championship.

Hole-in-One Results:

--Louis Bartoletti: Round One at Atunyote, 6th hole. Finished T60, 292 (75, 69, 75, 73)
--David McNabb: Round Two at Atunyote, 6th hole. Missed the cut (70, 75)
--John Traub: Round Two at Shenendoah, 9th hole. Finished T86, 299 (71, 71, 82, 75)
--Ron Philo, Jr.: Round Four at Atunyote, 3rd hole. Finished 1st, 278 (68, 71, 71, 68)

What They're Saying on Sunday:

RON PHILO JR., Westchester, N.Y. -- 278 (Winner)
Metropolis Country Club, White Plains, N.Y.

(Following the end of his round, about the pending playoff with Alan Schulte)
I was telling my caddie, if someone had told me this morning if I could birdie 18 to shoot 67, I'd have walked to the 18th tee and said let me at it. It's all good. I thought I hit a great shot coming into the green on 18. I hit my putt exactly where I wanted. I saw the putt come down the hill and trickle to the left, but from where I was on the opposite side, I couldn't believe the putt would break up here. And it did. All in all, I'm satisfied I did the best I could, and now there's a playoff coming up. Just keep going, keep trying to do our best. I'm leaving with more money than I came with; I have another trip to the PGA. I came here to win, and if I still have a chance to win, that's a bonus.

(On his play on the 17th hole)
I had it about 168 to the front. I thought even a 6-iron could get to the front of the green. I had to give it that much loft to get it over the lift, or to make sure I got it over the lip. The last thing I wanted to do was catch the lip and be standing there in the rough with 175 yards. It was the best I could do with what I had.

(Following the playoff, during his awards ceremony)
I couldn't obviously be here without my members. Not to mention my members at Metropolis Country Club, but my members down in Amelia Island Plantation, and all of the members and all those who play golf around the country who make this such a great game who allow all of us to be here to compete. What makes this such a special event for me is the fact that I'm competing with my fellow professionals from around the country who are doing, on a daily basis, their best to make this great game even better.

This trophy and the privilege of being here is something that I'm very proud of because of how proud I am to be a part of this association. It's made very special by all of the folks up here, all of the folks who came to compete, and all the folks who are back home hoping to try to get here next year. Thank you very much. Thanks to everyone at Turning Stone, and thanks to my wife and my kids at home for putting up with me when I'm out spending a few extra hours playing a few holes.

(On making a hole-in-one on the 199-yard third hole, using a 4-iron)
The hole in one was pretty neat. That's my third in competition and the longest one I've had. It was great. That's where I was aiming. I was feeling pretty good about it and it went in. It's a very tough hole to get close to. It was early, so we still had a lot of golf to play. I just tried to stay focused on playing more holes without getting too excited about that.

(On finishing the tournament with a playoff against Alan Schulte)
I was in a playoff here when we played our regional championship three years ago and was not successful. I was pretty thrilled just to get off the 18th hole. Last time I got beat on the first hole. I'm excited and I'm worn out. I'm ready to sit down and have something to drink.

(On the third hole of the playoff, the 11th hole, which decided the winner)
There's only one way to play that hole, and that's over to the left. Leave it short, maybe if it's cutting a little bit it might bounce onto the green. I was asking if the committee had played that hole. You can't keep it on the green if you hit it over that bunker. It was like, we're giving away a Club Car here, but it's impossible to make a hole-in-one. I mean, you'd have to fly it into the hole.

I played it out to the left two of the three times. The one time I did land it on the green I rolled off the back. I hit it pretty much where I was trying to hit it, no matter where Alan hit it. I didn't have any idea if his ball was in the water, if it was just hung up in the grass. ... It's a hard hole to make 3 on no matter where you are. He didn't get to 10-under and get into the playoff because he was playing poorly. I just tried to get up and down. I hit the flag. I thought I hit a much better pitch than it turned out to be. I'm happy to get through it.

(On the advantage of being familiar with the Atunyote course)
I certainly think it was helpful we played the New York PGA Championship here and the regional championship here. I was familiar and I have friends in the area. I felt very comfortable here and the golf courses were in great shape.

(On his strategy going into the final day of the tournament)
I felt like if I could shoot 67, if I could get to double-digits under par, I could win. If I had, I would have avoided the playoffs. That was kind of my target, but I wasn't trying to pick a target score, just keep hitting birdies.

LAURA DIAZ
(LPGA Tour player and sister of Ron Philo, Jr.)
We talked last night and I asked what time he was playing. He told me he was off at 12. I told him I was off at 10:30, so I should be able to see him play the last couple. He didn't think so. I told him, nonetheless, we'll meet for dinner. As soon as I got done, we hopped in the car and made it over to see him putt on 18. Then, we were lucky enough to see the three playoff holes.

(On Philo's hole-in-one)
I heard about the hole-in-one. I called my mom on the way over here and asked, 'How's he doing? How's he doing?' At the time, he had a two-shot lead. She told me he had a hole-in-one this morning and I said, 'No way!' That was really exciting and then when we got here I watched him putt out on 18 [in regulation], gave him a hug and he said, 'Hey, I had a hole-in-one!' and I said, 'Yeah, how about that!'

(On the win)
It's awesome. My brother is an exceptional player and I love playing with him, I love watching him play and I'm just so proud of him. It's just great. It's awesome. He won, he deserves it. He's been in contention here for the last four years and I'm just really proud of him, this is awesome.

(Will she caddie for him at Medinah?)
That's the plan right now, unless I get fired.

ALAN SCHULTE, Fishers, Ind. -- 278 (Runner-up)
The Hawthorns Golf & Country Club, Fishers, Ind.

(On losing the playoff on the third extra hole, the par-3 11th)
In regulation, I hit a 6-iron on the hole. This time, I tried to cut a little 5-iron and I really just didn't hit it hard enough. It was a brutal hole location and it just didn't work out.

(On his round)
I started out slow myself and it took me about four or five holes before I thought I hit a good solid shot. It was nice to hang in there and be patient and let my game come around.

(On the tournament and his success)
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the week. It's never easy to take when you consider a loss, but coming into the week all I really wanted to do was play well enough to make Medinah (a PGA Championship trip). It was kind of a bonus to have a chance to win.

LEE RINKER, Jupiter, Fla. -- 280
Emerald Dunes Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Fla.

(On his round)
I was right there, it's just tough to make birdies. Ron [Philo] got it up to 12[-under] and I was at nine and I just kept making pars. I had a couple of putts come close. Really what killed me was 16 and 17. On 16 I made par, but I hit a bad 5-iron into the right bunker, then I got it up and down. I needed a birdie on one of the last two holes. I hit a good drive on 17 with a 5-iron and missed that one a little left. Actually, that ball was close to being a good shot. I just pulled it just a little, then didn't get it up and had it left in a tough spot. I needed to get it up and down.

(On playing in the PGA Championship)
To play any tour event is special, but especially a major. ... I'm going to have to go work out. I guess it's 7,500 yards longer or something. I don't have that much length any more. It should be fun. It's just a great week. It's our championship, it's our organization's championship, and it's great that 20 guys get to go play. I look forward to it. I've actually made four out of five cuts of PGAs I've played in. I'm looking forward to going, having another chance to make the cut and see what I can do.

JEFFREY CRANFORD, La Quinta, Calif. -- 284
Deerwood Club, Kingwood, Texas

(On playing in his first PGA Professional National Championship)
Today it was so difficult to get to the pin. It felt a little bit like just hanging on all day. I finally birdied 15 and gave a sigh of relief when I chipped one in on 11. I was very fortunate. Actually, if it had hit the pin, it probably would have rolled to the edge of the green -- it was a two-shot swing. I don't know, sometimes it goes, and sometimes it doesn't. The first couple of days I had some bad breaks, and today I got the good breaks.

(On what it means to him to finish in the top 20)
You know what, it's hard to describe. To be in that situation is going to be this times 10, I'm sure. Everybody wants to play in it. It's my first time here and it will be my first time in a major.

(On the ninth hole, his only bogey of the day)
I hit a really good drive, which is the hardest part of the that hole. I had to hit a 5-iron, and I think I was using a wedge during the practice round, so it played really differently into the wind. I was trying to hit it down and the wind got on top of it. But to make only one bogey today, I felt good about it.

(On the impact of the wind on the course today)
I thought the holes into the wind were actually easier than the holes downwind, because the greens were so firm. It seemed like I never had to get a yardage to middle. It was always what is the yardage to the front, because everything, even a sand wedge, at times, would release 30 feet. I think holes into the wind, even though they were playing longer, were, if not easier, probably just as easy. It wasn't easier either way, really.

GREG BISCONTI, South Salem, N.Y. -- 287
The Saint Andrew's Golf Club, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

(On playing in his first National Championship and finishing in the top 20)
I didn't really know what to expect coming into the week. I knew the size of the field was big, but I didn't really know the caliber of the players we were going to be up against. Obviously there were a lot of great players this week. I'm thrilled to have made the cut this week -- I think that was goal number one. Playing in the PGA is icing, so all in all, it was a good week.

(On playing in the PGA Championship at Medinah)
I didn't really know what to expect. I hadn't really played a lot coming up to this event. Our training sessions haven't kicked in yet, so I didn't know what to expect. That would be a dream come true. For any club professional to be able to play in a major is a dream come true. We don't get many opportunities, so I would certainly relish it if I could make my way in through this playoff.

(On regaining his composure after making back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes)
I hit a bad drive on two. I bogeyed two and three, three-putted the third hole. Just knowing the way the pins were today and knowing the type of course this is from having played it before, I knew a couple over wouldn't be the worst score. I knew the scores were going to be high. I just tried to on every hole think about making birdies. It didn't work out for me, but I think I played pretty well on the back nine. I hit two great shots on 18, the wind caught me on the third one -- it was a rookie mistake. It is what it is.

(On making double-bogey on the ninth hole)
I just hit an absolutely great drive coming off of birdie, so I had some momentum. I haven't been driving the ball well the last three days at all, so it was a big drive for me. I had it in the perfect position in the fairway and just made a bad swing and hit it in a place where you can't miss it on nine. I hit it in the downslope of the bunker and really had no chance to get it onto the green from there.

(On the impact of the wind on the course today)
Tremendous impact. The course played totally differently than it has the last two days. I was at Shenendoah the first day, so the last two days for me were totally different. It played much longer, balls didn't roll out in the fairway. I mean, you were hitting two or three clubs more into some greens than you were used to hitting, so it was a different golf course.

(On if there was an advantage to playing Atunyote three days in a row)
I don't think there's any plus or minus. I've played here so much over the last few years with our section events, it didn't hurt me either way.

SAM ARNOLD, Cincinnati, Ohio -- 287
The Vineyard Golf Course, Cincinnati, Ohio

(On his round)
It was a pretty eventful round. I started out with a birdie and then it was an up-and-down round. I made an eagle on no. 7 by hitting a driver and then a 52-degree wedge. It was exciting because then it put me back to 1-under-par for the day. Every time I made a birdie or an eagle today, I came back with a bogey.

(On his up-and-down round)
My caddie was phenomenal and kept me in it. I knew that the course was playing tough for everyone.

(On any added pressure trying to make the top-20)
I was praying that I would let everything happen today and let it take over and I am very thankful that I made the putt on No. 18 that could potentially put me in the top 20.

(On the potential of playing in the 88th PGA Championship)
It would be great. It would absolutely be a dream come true, especially with all the sacrifices I made. In this business, you work so many hours and if you want to work on your game, then you have to get up early. As a result, I have sacrificed family time by have made it to this stage with the support from my wife.

(On the PGA Professional National Championship)
This is my first experience here and it was great. The PGA of America does a tremendous job with our major championship.

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