T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Skinner goes low in Round 3 of National Championship
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | 3:20 p.m.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Sonny Skinner made a big move in the right direction during the third round of the 47th PGA Professional National Championship on Tuesday.
Skinner, 53, winner of four consecutive Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Awards, fired a 4-under 68 at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club to get to 1-over 217 for the tournament.
"It's a very tough course, but I hope I made up some ground today," said Skinner, twice a runner up in the National Championship. "Everything started out soggy this morning. It took me 20 minutes to get out to the car because of the rain. I got to the course and we got a couple of holes in, but the bottom falls out again with the rain and we had a delay. But I feel pretty fortunate. I hit the ball pretty good for most of the day, there's no doubt. I putted very well today, which is always a good thing."
At the time of this post, Skinner had soared 67 spots on the leaderboard from a T83 to start the day to T16 when he finished. There's still plenty of golf left to be played, so that position could move in either direction before the third round ends.
Skinner erased a bogey on No. 3 with birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 to make the turn at 1-under 35. He made four birdies on the back -- Nos. 10, 14, 16 and 17 -- against a lone bogey on No. 12.
"The course being so wet, it was a lot softer, so you could fly it closer to the pin, so you could get a little more aggressive," he said. "I was on the outside looking in going into today and I had the mindset that I needed to shoot my best round of the week. I told my wife last night that I thought something in the 60s could get me up there and hopefully close to the top 20. Hopefully, by the end of the day, that 68 will have done that."
Skinner admitted that after the rains, the course was perhaps a touch easier than it had played before Tuesday.
"It was relatively benign out there after the storm compared to the first two days," he said. "The wind was very mild and didn't seem to be hurting on any hole. It was blowing out of the east. It was good to get a good round in the books -- I don't care how the wind is blowing, or how soft the greens were... they weren't that soft."
Skinner has nothing to prove to his peers out here, but he beams with pride after rounds like today.
"I just try to pay attention to the process of hitting good shots, one shot at a time," he said. "As you get older, you just want to keep getting up and going to work just to show that you've got some life in you. My grandmother lived to be 97 and she worked full time right up until the end. So I plan on playing golf full time as much as I can. I'm very thankful that the PGA gives us as many tournaments as they do to play, because everyone in this field enjoys playing as much as they can."
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Sahalee Country Club
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club