SEASIDE, Calif. -- Marty Jertson, Director of Product Development, needed his A-game in Wednesday's final round of the PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet if he was going to have any chance of qualifying for his first PGA Championship since 2012.
On the back nine, it looked like things might be slipping away. After his second three-putt bogey in three holes at the 15th, Jertson was 4 over for the tournament and needed a big-time rally.
And that's exactly what he did, making birdies at each of the last three holes for a final-round, 4-under 68, to finish at 1-over 289 and punch a ticket to Bellerive in August.
"I'm still a little bit in shock right now," said Jertson moments after his 68, which tied his lowest score in the PPC. "It feels very satisfying. You need to have patience and hopefully you'll get that one good round. I didn't have it the first three days, but I just hung in there and hung in there, just teetering on making both cuts.
"I made a couple of late birdies to do that too. But to finally piece it together was awesome. This round almost got away from me. I had two three-putts on the back. They were tough first putts. Then I almost holed a shot on 16. It was awesome. I made a great 10-12-footer that broke a lot. I had another 10-footer on 17 and then on the par-5 18th, I had a long putt from just off the green that hit the pin and almost dropped in for eagle."
Jertson said he knew coming back from where he was to climb into the top 20 was possible because he's seen others do it. But, for the 37-year-old, this was a first.
"When you tee off 3-4 hours before the leaders, you're like, 'OK. I've got to shoot in the 60s,'" he said. "You have no choice. I was telling my wife last night that I could be frustrated with where I'm at in the tournament, but you've got one round, treat it like a Monday qualifier, shoot in the 60s and go to the PGA Championship. We got it done."
And it wasn't all that disimilar to 2012 -- the last time Jertson got it done and the last time the PPC was held at Bayonet.
Jertson tied for seventh that year. He made the 36-hole cut on the number after rounds of 78-68. His final-round 69 that year got him to Kiawah Island for the PGA.
In fact, that was Jertson's second straight start in a PGA after finishing inside the top 20 (fifth and seventh, respectively) in his first two PPCs.
Since then, it had been a struggle for Jertson in the PPC. He tied for 49th in 2013, finished T73 in 2014, missed the cut in 2015 and finished 67th a year ago in Sunriver.
What seemed easy at first, Jertson quickly learned, wasn't easy at all.
And that's why this time around he's going to appreciate the journey to his third PGA Championship all the more.
"Once you get a taste of it, it makes you want to go back that much more," Jertson said. "I'd like to get redemption for my play. My driving is so much better now that I want to see if I can bring it there and set myself up for some good golf."
When Jertson gets to St. Louis, he'll take in the whole experience, but he'll be squarely focused on making the cut.
"If you look, historically, at the odds of a club professional making the cut in the PGA, it's not very good. It's a challenge. We need to bring our A to A+ game. But I think I have such a better chance now than I did the first two years based on how my game has transpired."
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