PGA Club Professionals struggle in mighty winds
Of the seven PGA Professionals who made the cut at the 67th Senior PGA Championship, only three managed to break 80 Saturday in wildly difficult conditions that allowed only three of 77 total players to break par at Oak Tree Golf Club.
By T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor
EDMOND, Okla. -- The battle of the elements -- temperatures that reached the low 90s and wind gusts that reached 30 mph -- separated the men from the boys during the third round of the 67th Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club on Saturday.
Or in some cases -- the Champions Tour professionals from the PGA Club Professionals.
In all, seven PGA Club Professionals advanced to weekend play.
The best of the PGA Professionals in the third round was Kirk Hanefeld. One of New England's leading club professionals, Hanefeld turned in a lackluster 79 Saturday. His 10-over-par total left him in a tie for 50th.
Mike Barge, the Director of Instruction at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., may have been holding the Club Professional flag after two rounds at 1 under par, but after three rounds he was waving the white flag.
Barge struggled mightily in the windy conditions -- he was far from the only one -- and wound up tied with Craig Stadler for the highest score of the day, a 13-over-par 84. Barge was part of an eight-way tie for 56th with fellow PGA Professionals Gary Robinson (Director of Golf at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio), and Darrell Kestner.
It was a tale of two sides for Kestner, the PGA Head Professional from Deepdale Golf Club in Manhassett, N.Y.
In the third round, Kestner carded a disappointing 10-over-par 81. But, believe it or not, the round was inspiring.
After a front-nine score of 11-over-par 47, Kestner rebounded to put up an impressive 1-under-par 34 on the back.
"It was a roller coaster on the other side [back nine] yesterday and a roller coaster on this side [front nine] today," he said. "It's a really, really difficult wind. It swung around. I didn't play poorly. I miss-clubbed on the par 3s and knocked it in the water twice on both of them. I just changed clubs and was too aggressive, trying to go at the pins too much instead of middle of the green. Just a little inexperience or not thinking clearly. But I played well, take those holes away, I played quite well."
Jon Fiedler (Director of Golf at Las Posas Country Club in Camarillo, Calif.), Perry Arthur (Director of Golf at the Dallas Stars Country Club in Texas) and Bob Ackerman (PGA Master Professional from Bloomfield, Mich.) rounded out the PGA Professional representation and were all tied for 64th place.