After T4 in 2013, Mark Sheftic looks forward to another crack at Sunriver Resort

Mark Sheftic
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Mark Sheftic tied for fourth when the PGA Professional Championship was last played at Sunriver Resort in 2013.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Published: Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 2:21 p.m.

SUNRIVER, Oregon -- Mark Sheftic is one of the most even-keeled guys you're likely to ever meet.

The 42-year-old PGA Teaching Professional from famed Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., is embarking on his eighth consecutive PGA Professional Championship this week at central Oregon's breathtaking Sunriver Resort.

In Sheftic's last start here in 2013, he tied for fourth even with a 74 in a difficult final round at Crosswater.

As he set out for his final preparations on Saturday morning at Crosswater, the memories from 2013 came flooding back.

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"This is an amazing place," he said. "Sunriver does a great job here. I haven't been able to play and practice a lot back home because I've been really busy. But once we get out here we can focus. My game is coming along really good. When you're in this environment, your competitive juices really get flowing. You get the energy back. Anytime you get to play in a PGA Professional Championship, I mean, this is why we play golf. You think of all the years you've hit balls to get to kind of position. I feel really good going into it. I'm going to try and play smart, keep my nerves under control and try to feed off the good energy from last time."

Interestingly, Sheftic's T4 in 2013 was just his third best finish in the PPC.

Sheftic tied for second in his debut at Twin Warriors in New Mexico and backed it up with a third-place showing the next year at French Lick's Dye Course.

In his last three PPC starts, Sheftic missed the cut twice before 2016's T42.

Sheftic's first round will be at Crosswater at 2:35 p.m. PDT on Sunday. He'll play the Meadows course on Friday. For all players making the cut, the final two rounds will be contested at Crosswater.

"I always approach it -- no matter the draw -- I approach it as, 'I got the best draw,'" Sheftic said. "There's no point in approaching it any other way because then you're building in excuses for yourself. Whatever they give me, that's what I play with. I'm happy with the draw I got.

While he'll be working hard this week to find that old magic, he admitted on Saturday that he's not going to give much thought to the final result.

"I have no expectations," he said. "I'm going to try and play one shot at a time, see what happens, and if I get myself in contention, I'm going to try and make the most out of it. Any time I've gone to a tournament and I've tried to win, or tried to shoot certain scores, I never played well. If I go in here with no thoughts and just take care of the moment at hand and stay in the present, the shots and the scorecard will fall into place."

Along with one of those 20 coveted spots in the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, there's another carrot dangling for players in the field this week: a spot on the 2017 PGA Cup team.

Previously, Sheftic has played on three PGA Cup teams.

If the chips fall into place, he sure would like to make it four PGA Cup teams when the matches tee off in England this September.

"The PGA Cup -- all three I've played in -- nothing in my career will ever top those three experiences," he said. "It's a fraternity of guys. If you ever play on a Cup team, you're in a special fraternity. When you get to represent the United States and the PGA of America, that's special. It's hard to really explain just how special that is. You never know how many times you'll get that opportunity. You know what you're playing for. You're playing for the PGA and you're playing for your country, which makes you grind it out a little harder. It's a Cup year and I'm well aware of that. Getting back there would be very special."  

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.