Kelly Mitchum flying the flag for Pinehurst

Pinehurst's Kelly Mitchum is one of the few players within shouting distance of leader Matt Dobyns.

Kelly Mitchum flying the flag for Pinehurst

Kelly Mitchum is proud to represent the iconic Pinehurst Resort. Now he’s one round away from doing so at the PGA Championship.

By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer

SEASIDE, Calif. -- Kelly Mitchum, a PGA assistant professional at Pinehurst Resort, had a plan coming into Round 3: Start fast. And he did. Even with a mid-round hiccup, Mitchum was able to grind out an even-par 72 and is one of the few players within shouting distance of leader Matt Dobyns at the PGA Professional National Championship. 

"I played pretty solid the first two days and I just wanted to get out to a good start," Mitchum recounted. "I got off to a really good start. I hit a nice birdie putt on four and hit it in there close on five. Almost reached the par-5 eighth in two, up and down for birdie and I'm 3 under for the day."

At the time, Mitchum was vaulting up the leaderboard. And at one point, he found himself tied for the lead. 

"Nine is a really tough hole for me, even if I hit it in the fairway because I have a really tough time holding the green," he explained. "I ended up trying to cut the corner a bit too close and then had to pitch out -- ended up making a double bogey. That kind of slowed the round down a little bit. Made a couple of bogeys in the middle of the back nine but finished with a birdie to finish strong."

Strong it was as Mitchum finds himself alone in third place, one shot out of second, heading into the final day.

But having a gallery and a national television audience won’t bother Mitchum. In addition to his previous Championship appearances, where he has had great success, Mitchum is used to attention for other reasons. Representing one of the world’s most iconic golf destinations is something he finds to be an honor and a great opportunity to promote a world-class venue. 

"I'm always very excited to represent Pinehurst the best I can," he said as he was told his round was chronicled in real time via the Pinehurst Resort’s Twitter account. "I'm proud to work at Pinehurst, proud to be a golf instructor there at our Pinehurst Golf Academies. I hope I do represent the traditions and history that Pinehurst embodies. 

One more solid round from Mitchum, and he'll be representing them a few short hours away at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course at the PGA Championship.