Dana Quigley played a whopping 268 consecutive Champions Tour events from 1997-2005, most of them with his trademark cigar between his lips. (Photo: Getty Images)
Quigley hopes to join exclusive 'club' as Senior PGA Champion
Before finding success and riches on the Champions Tour beginning in 1997, Dana Quigley was a hard-working club professional for 25 years. Nothing would make him more proud -- or complete his career -- like winning the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy.
By Craig Dolch, Special to PGA.com
BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- Dana Quigley is proud of his Iron Man status on the Champions Tour, a moniker he earned after playing in 268 consecutive events from 1997-2005.
But there's another way he'd like for his golf career to be remembered: As a Senior PGA champion.
Quigley came oh-so-close in 2005, losing a late two-shot lead at Laurel Valley before losing to Mike Reid in a three-way playoff. But the former club professional took a positive step toward earning his first major championship Thursday with a 1-under 69 that left Quigley tied for fourth place after the first round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club.
"I'm proud of my Iron Man status, but it sure would mean a lot to me to win the Senior PGA, especially after I let one get away at Laurel Valley," Quigley said. "At my age (62), I know I don't have a lot of time left out here."
Quigley struggled on the PGA Tour for parts of five seasons from 1978-82, eventually quitting the tour life to become PGA head professional at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth, Mass., from 1983-96. But his career took a decided turn when he won the Champions Tour's Northville Long Island Classic in 1997 as a Monday qualifier.
Quigley won 11 Champions Tour titles and was named Player of the Year in 2005. But injuries and health issues have taken their toll in recent years. After finishing no worse than 14th on the money list for eight consecutive seasons, his ranking has dropped from 21st to 25th and to 41st the last three years.
In six starts this year, his best finish is an 18th-place tie at the AT&T Championship. Things have been so bad he has even skipped three events.
"It hasn't been much of a year so far," Quigley said. "But a good week this week can certainly turn things around in a hurry."
Quigley said he didn't miss a shot on his first two holes, but because he landed on the wrong side of slopes on Canterbury's cantankerous greens, he bogeyed the first hole and had to make a 10-footer at his second hole to save par.
"If I don't make that putt, I don't know what would have happened," Quigley said. "I played perfect golf for two holes, and I was almost 2-over."
Quigley was one of only three players to break par in the afternoon. He said this has always been a special tournament for him, and not just because it's a major with one of the largest purses on the Champions Tour.
"I was a club pro for almost 25 years, and I still consider myself a club pro," he said. "I hope the other club pros still look at me as one."