Return to Sunriver Resort rehashes great memories for Rob Labritz

Rob Labritz
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
In 2013 at the last PPC held at the Sunriver Resort, Rob Labritz hit the shot of a lifetime.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
Connect with T.J.

Published: Saturday, June 17, 2017 | 1:49 p.m.

SUNRIVER, Oregon -- Four years ago here at the Sunriver Resort, Met Section PGA Professional Rob Labritz hit arguably the most clutch shot in PGA Professional Championship history.

Playing the 11th hole at Crosswater (it will play as No. 2 this week), in a playoff to determine the final spot in the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill, Labritz looked to be on the outside looking in.

After two players advanced to the PGA on the first playoff hole, Labritz found himself in a three players for one spot scenario.

RELATED: Round 1 tee times | Complete PPC coverage | Photos

Out of position off the tee on that second playoff hole, Labritz watched his fellow competitors put their shots on the green in regulation.

When he got back into position with his second shot, Labritz had 95 yards left to the hole.

That's when he went ahead and did this:

Do hole-out birdies get any sweeter than that one?

Moments later, the two other players were unable to convert their respective birdie putts and Labritz, the PGA Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y., moved on to the season's final major.

The shot Labritz hit to get there earned the No. 1 spot on Sports Center's "Top Plays" that day.

Fast forward four years later and Labritz is back at the scene of his greatest career highlight with his sights set on the ultimate prize -- winning the 2017 PGA Professional Championship and the Walter Hagen Cup that comes with it.

Under glorious blue skies with the snow-capped Mt. Bachelor in the distance, Labritz was getting his final tune-up on the Crosswater course before the tournament tees off on Sunday (his first round will be at the nearby Meadows course).

He took a second to reflect on that lifetime memory from 2013.

"I think any time someone in sports gets the No. 1 play on Sports Center's top 10, it's going to be the highlight of a career," said Labritz, looking to punch a ticket to his fifth PGA Championship, a perk that comes with finishing among the top 20 at the PPC. "It's definitely one of the top 2-3 memories of my career. Maybe No. 1."

During Thursday's practice round at Crosswater, Labritz returned to the spot of his special shot.

"We made a video where we replayed the shot, so that was fun."

Did it go in again?

"Yes, of course," Labritz said, tongue firmly in cheek. "It brings back such good memories."

Entering this week, Labritz says he's feeling great about his game, one that snagged him his third consecutive MasterCard Westchester PGA Championship in May.

"My game feels really good," he said. "We've been working really hard on the short game and putting. We're ready to go. I'm just going to go out and play the golf course. I don't think too much about who else is playing or how they're playing. I know a bunch of these guys. I've been paired with them before and we've played a bunch together over the years. I'm just going to be focused on going out there and making more birdies than bogeys. If I do that things will fall into place."

Overall, this will be Labritz's 10th appearance in the PPC. His best finish was a T7 in 2002 -- his debut. He tied for 13th a year ago to make it to the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

The recently-turned 46-year-old has his sights set on winning this week, but he also isn't going to get ahead of himself.

"I'd really like to win this one," he said. "There's so much more than just the purse that comes with this one. You get those six PGA Tour exemptions and a major. I'd like to win this one. I'm not going to think about results. It's taken me my whole life to train myself not to think about results. I'm just going to think about the shot at hand. I'm not going to worry about where it goes or what happens. I'm just going to play shots."

Labritz tees off at 9:05 a.m. PDT on Sunday at the Meadows course. 

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.