Changing putters led to a welcome change in results for Bill Loeffler on Saturday. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Loeffler finding lots of elevation change on his scorecard this week
After carding a 69 and an 82, local favorite Bill Loeffler rebounded with another 69 Saturday. He, James Blair III and Lindy Miller are now tied for the event's Low PGA Professional honors.
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
PARKER, Colo. -- PGA Club Professional Bill Loeffler is having an interesting week at the 71st Senior PGA Championship, to say the least. The PGA General Manager and co-owner of Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Golf Club and The Links Golf Club in Denver is showing more peaks and valleys than the nearby Rocky Mountains.
Two 3-under 69s, sandwiched around a Friday 82 have left him emotionally drained but firmly in good position to make a charge on Sunday.
“It’s a lot of elevation change,” Loeffler laughed regarding his scores thus far. “I finally had some rhythm that I didn’t have yesterday.”
Loeffler spent the better part of Friday struggling on the greens and making alternative weekend plans – believing his 7-over-par total of 151 wouldn’t be enough to keep him around.
“My wife kept telling me, you’re going to make it,” he said, “But I said ‘no, no, no, no one could be that bad’,” he cracked. “It’s a bonus and a surprise. My thoughts are mostly around just trying to get back to even par. Maybe one more really good round from me, I could do it.”
Loeffler credits a change in putters, going back to a standard putter rather than his more traditional belly putter, for the first time in over 10 years.
“Who knows what I’m going to have tomorrow,” he laughed. “It might be taller than me.”
Loeffler’s strong round certainly vaults him back into contention for the Low Club Professional honors that The PGA of America will present as part of the awards ceremony at the following play on Sunday.
“Yes, I think about that,” Loeffler freely admits. “That was one of my goals coming in.”
Another PGA Club Professional making a mark is Lindy Miller, who entered the day tied with James Blair III for the low PGA Club Professional heading into the weekend.
Miller, a PGA Teaching Professional at Shady Oaks Country Club in Westworth Village, Texas, also sits at 4 over par for the championship after carding a 74 on Saturday. Miller admitted that he was thinking about being the Low Club Professional in the field.
“I think you do a little bit, just because of our organization,” he shared, “but you can’t really think of that when you’re playing. You just play one shot at a time and wherever it ends up, it ends up. Those things, they just happen, after you play well enough to do it.
Loeffler and Miller are tied with James Blair III at 4 over par for Low Club Professional honors. Blair, unlike the others, says he doesn’t think about the Low Club Professional award during the week.
“I don’t think about that kind of stuff,” he said, “just go out and hit the fairway tomorrow and see if I can get some putts to drop.”
Blair’s consistent play hasn’t been the only highlight of the week for him.
“I’ve got my son caddying for me and we’re doing alright,” he smiled. “It’s good.”
Overall, eight PGA Club Professionals made the cut here at Colorado Golf Club. The others are Bill Britton (Director of Instruction, Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck, N.J.), Mike San Filippo (PGA Life Member), Chris Starkjohann (PGA Teaching Professional for Torrey Pines Golf Club and Outings, Oceanside, Calif.), Ron Vlosich (PGA Life Member) and Jim Woodward (PGA Teaching Professional, Oak Tree Golf Club, Edmund, Okla.)