SUNRIVER, Oregon -- Defending PGA Professional Champion Rich Berberian Jr. looked well on his way to putting up a fight for his second consecutive title.
Things unraveled for the 29-year-old PGA Director of Instruction at Vesper Country Club in Tyngsborough, Mass., in the middle of Round 3, however, when he had a three-hole stretch beginning at No. 7 that went bogey-quadruple bogey-bogey.
He would make one more birdie, but bogeyed his final two holes of the day to finish with a 6-over 78 that put him at even par for the tournament.
Berberian chalked up the big number to trying to be play aggressive in conditions at Crosswater where mistakes were magnified.
"I went out there on Tuesday thinking I needed to make birdies," Berberian admitted. "The course wasn't lending itself to that approach. In the long run, it hurt because I was too aggressive and my misses left me in bad spots and I putted pretty bad."
To his credit, Berberian pulled it together for the final round on Wednesday, shooting a 1-under 71 to finish the 50th PPC at 1-under 286 to punch his ticket to a second consecutive PGA Championship.
"This week was tough as the defending champion," Berberian said. "I didn't really know what to expect. I can't really say I'd been playing good or bad, but just having everybody's eyes on me for a week was a lot. I'd rather be somebody nobody knows and play good. But to hang in there after what happened on Tuesday and to make it to another major is all I could ask for."
After the experience at Baltusrol in the 2016 PGA Championship, along with making the cut in two PGA Tour events, Berberian believes he'll be a little more prepared for Quail Hollow in the "what to expect" department.
"Those experiences should help me for sure," he said. "I try to learn as much as I can from every event, every tournament, even if it's just messing around with my buddies. There's always something to learn and to get better at. It's going to be a hit or miss kind of week. You want to play well because it's a major, but it's going to be tough. If something good happens it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't."
Experts on the business and game of golf. The best coaching tips and latest golf news delivered straight to you. Sign Up to get the latest.