SEASIDE, Calif. -- The 51st PGA Professional Championship was always going to be a special one for Matt Dobyns.
The 40-year-old from Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., won the 2012 PPC -- the first of two for him -- by eight strokes at Bayonet, the same venue used this week.
Dobyns was feeling the good vibes when he arrived, but he didn't have his A-game.
Even still, he managed to finish at 1-over 288 and tied for sixth, As a result, he will head to the PGA Championship at Bellerive in August for the fifth time in his career.
"It feels really rewarding this time because I didn't quite have it this week," he said. "I really had to navigate the course a lot differently than six years ago when I had control of my game. This time required a lot more thought, a lot more effort. The course got the better of me a lot of the time. We hung in and in some ways, that's more rewarding."
This is the fourth top-10 finish for Dobyns in seven PPC starts. That win in 2012 was his PPC debut.
With his solid game and matching attitude, he knows the formula to get to the PGA.
"I think if you look at it objectively, if you avoid double bogeys and make the putts you're supposed to make, that's what it takes," said Dobyns after a 73 in the final round. "You don't have to be a hero at any point during the four rounds. You just have to stay within yourself and not compound any of your mistakes. I think that's the key."
Though the courses may have been the same as the ones Dobyns won on in 2012, the conditions were quite different.
That year, Dobyns won at 13 under. The next closest finisher was at 5 under -- which was Ryan Vermeer's winning mark this week.
"I think this time around, the coolness made it play a little longer," Dobyns said. "I think the wind was up a bit more too. The greens had a little more speed in them. You add all that up and the scores are a bit higher. I shot 13 under when I won and I won by eight. I was the only score really that was that much lower the last times. I don't know how different it really played, but it felt a lot harder to me."
Dobyns said he doesn't know much about Bellerive, but there's a very special reason he's looking forward to getting there in St. Louis... and the golf, really, is just a bonus.
"I don't know anything about Bellerive," he said. "But what I do know is that my sister lives in St. Louis and I haven't seen her in a long time. I'm really looking forward to visiting here and having a reason to go visit her and hopefully we can take the family out there and enjoy the week that way. I'm most excited about being able to share that week with her and with my family."
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