Storybook week continues for nine PGA Professionals
None of them is in contention to win the 68th Senior PGA Championship, but the nine PGA Professionals who made the cut at the Ocean Course continued to battle for every shot on an ultra-tough course.
By John Kim, Coordinating Producer
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- For nine PGA Club Professionals, their storybook experience at the 68th Senior PGA Championship isn't quite complete. One more chapter was added on Saturday as those who made the cut tried to position themselves on the leaderboard.
"I wanted to play better than I have so far," said PGA Professional Lindy Miller, the Director of Golf at Mira Vista Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas. "But making the cut -- hey, it hasn't been easy out here the last few days -- so there's a measure of satisfaction in that. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully can put one good score up there."
Though there is a special presentation and trophy for the low score among the club professionals in the field, the overriding sentiment among the players was to not look at the scoreboard or think about anything outside of what was needed to execute the next shot.
"I know most of the other club pros," said Gary Robison. "I root for all those guys, too. But when you get out there, you're on your own. You take each shot, one at a time, and really don't worry about anybody or anything else that's going on."
Robison, the PGA Director of Golf at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, shot a strong 73 in the third round.
"I'm not very close to the leaders," Robison added. "And I didn't finish the way I wanted to, but I feel good about being here and how I'm playing."
Mike San Filippo, a PGA Life Member and special invitee to this year's tournament, shot a second-round best 69 on Friday and followed that up with a solid 74 Saturday.
"I probably played the best I played all week," San Filippo said in reference to his third round. "I just didn't hit any putts."
San Filippo will enter the final round 5 over par, the best score of the nine remaining club professionals. Jeff Coston of Blaine,Wash., who is writing a daily blog for PGA.com, Ron Stelten of Palm Desert, Calif., and Kirk Hanefeld of Acton, Mass., were one shot back at 6 over.
"I am aware that there will be a special recognition of the low club pro in the field. I'm glad to see that," said San Filippo. "I'm glad to see nine guys make the cut. I think it's important for club pros to continue to play in these tournaments. We (PGA Professionals) need to be playing professionals, too, not just always doing the things that we have to do as club professionals at home. I really think it's important to keep those 35 spots for the club professionals in this event."
Other PGA Professionals who made it to the weekend included Bobby Heins of Purchase, N.Y., Bill Britton of Runson, N.J.and Bill Schumaker of Columbia City, Ind.
Schumaker, the PGA Head Professional at Crooked Lake Golf Course in Columbia City, Ind. summed up his experience thus far.
"This is my eighth straight Senior PGA, and aside from a couple of U.S. Senior Opens, these are my only weeks out here," he explained. "This is something I look forward to ever since the Senior Club Professional Championship and when you know you're in. It's been a great week, and expectations are just what you would think they would be for a club pro. If I make the cut, I feel like I've represented myself pretty well."
Certainly all the PGA Professionals that took part in the 68th Senior PGA Championship have represented themselves, their facilities, and the PGA of America very well, but for nine of them, their great story just isn't quite finished.
The presentation to the low PGA Professional will take place at the conclusion of play on Sunday just prior to the awarding of the Senior PGA Championship Trophy.