NEWS

Rick Schuller leads chase for low club professional honors in 2017 Senior PGA Championship

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POTOMAC FALLS, Va. – Rick Schuller of Chester, Virginia, who knows the Trump National Golf Club-DC layout better than most, posted a 2-under-par 70 to grab a one-shot advantage for Low Club Professional honors in the 78th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Schuller, a 54-year-old PGA Teaching Professional at Stonehenge Golf & Country Club in North Chesterfield, Virginia, posted a 2-under-par 70 for a 54-hole total of 1-over-par 217 in his third consecutive appearance in the most historic and prestigious championship in senior golf.

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That gave him a stroke advantage over Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, New York, who had a 73 and 218 total. Jim Estes of Germantown, Maryland, (73) was next at 220; followed by Jeff Roth of Farmington, New Mexico, (74) at 221; and Lee Houtteman of Glen Arbor, Michigan (79), at 226.

The five were part of a 36-player PGA Club Professional delegation in the Championship.

Schuller, the 2009 Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year, finished 24 holes Saturday. That included getting a wakeup call at 4:30 a.m. to be at the course and complete a second-round 75 that was suspended Friday due to darkness. Schuller made the 36-hole cut by one stroke.

“I struggled mightily in the morning, trying to make the cut,” said Schuller. “I made a double bogey on my finishing hole this morning – but I only hit one green and one fairway in those six holes and I was just trying to get it in.”

Schuller cruised to 4-under-par through 16 holes in the afternoon, before he said, “I just ran out of gas. My back and muscles, everything was tightening up. I made a silly bogey on the ninth hole with just a wedge in my hand. Then that 10th hole, just missed the green and didn't get up-and-down. So finished bogey, bogey, so it was a little bit of a sour taste, but all in all I'm very happy.”

Beginning play on the No. 11 hole in the afternoon, Schuller got a lift when he eagled the 18th hole. “I hit a tremendous drive down the left side of the fairway, then hit a 4-iron to about 25 feet and knocked it in. So it was fun. I got a nice little roar and a cheer on 18. That was really cool. It will be a life-long memory.”

Schuller acknowledged that all PGA Club Professionals in the field are aware of the Low Club Professional honor, which is awarded on Sunday.

“I'm up for the challenge,” said Schuller. “I'm going to get a good night's rest and maybe a massage or something and I'll be ready to go.”

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