Countdown to Whistling Straits: Meet the Top 20 PGA Professionals - Part 4

PGA of America


Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 | 4:40 p.m.

The 92nd PGA Championship field features 20 PGA Professionals who earned a berth through the 43rd PGA Professional National Championship, June 27-30, at French Lick (Ind.) Resort.

PGA NEWS follows the path of the 20 to Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis., and today continues a four-part series that profiles members of the elite delegation to the Season's Final Major.

PGA Championship Experience: 2004, '05, '06, '07, '09
Residence: Champaign, Ill.
Age: 44
Ht.: 6' 1"
Wt.: 185
Birth Date: March 4, 1966
Birthplace: Aurora, Ill.
College: University of Illinois
Home Club: University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
PGA Classification: A-12
Turned Professional: 1990
PGA Membership: 1996
PGA Section: Illinois
Personal: Wife, Ann; Children: Will, Wyatt
Hobbies/Special Interests: Fishing, NCAA sports and family time

It has been the most successful season of Mike Small's coaching career at the University of Illinois – on the course and on the sidelines watching his Fighting Illini compete. The Illinois men's coach since 2000, Small captured his third Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors while guiding the Fighting Illini to a second straight league championship. In June, he captured a record-tying third PGA Professional National Championship, matching the all-time record held by the late Larry Gilbert. Small added his victory in June at French Lick, Ind., with those in 2005 and 2009 ... His victory in 2010 was the first time that he had led going into the final round ... Posted a course record 7-under-par 65 in the 2010 third round on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort ... Finished runner-up in the 2004 National Championship; was fourth in 2006 and tied for runner-up in 2007 ... Competed on the 2005, '07 and '09 U.S. PGA Cup Team ... Finished as Low Club Professional at the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Small accomplished this feat after winning the Illinois Open four days earlier and flying to Southern Hills to compete ... This season, Small watched as Illinois senior-to-be Scot t Langley went on to win the NCAA Championship and finish as the Low Amateur in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach ... Small was a member of the 1988 Illinois Big Ten Conference champion team, and finished runner-up to teammate Steve Stricker in that tournament. The ties to Stricker continued, as the two served as a groomsman in each other's wedding. Small also is a two-time (2003, '09) Midwest Region Coach of the Year… Small competed in 1994, '98 and 2007 U.S. Open ... Considered the most dominant performer in Illinois PGA Section history. . Winner of a record eight Illinois PGA Section Championships, including seven straight - 2001, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08 and '09 ... Winner, 2003, '05, '06, '07 Illinois Open ... Finished tied for 27th in 2004 Cialis Western Open and tied for 50th in 2005 ... Tied for fourth in 2003 Northern PGA Club Professional Championship, tied for seventh in 2004 and finished runner-up in 2001 ... Competed on the former Nike Tour (Nationwide Tour), winning 1997 Monterey Open and 1997 Cleveland Open ... Was a member of the PGA Tour in 1998, and owns a career-best share of ninth place in 1998 Bell Canadian Open ... First member of the Illinois PGA Section to win the PGA Professional National Championship ... Has recorded two double eagles and four holes-in-one.

PGA Championship Experience: 2004
Residence: Frisco, Texas
Age: 43
Ht.: 6' 7"
Wt.: 230
Birth Date: July 21, 1966
Birthplace: Hampton, Va.
College: University of North Texas
Home Club/Affiliation: Brookhaven Country Club, Dallas, Texas
PGA Classification: A-14
Turned Professional: 1990
PGA Membership: 1995
PGA Section: Northern Texas
Personal: Wife, Kathleen; Children: Brandon, Parker, Kennedy
Hobbies/Special Interests: Third degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, family activities and ice hockey

The PGA director of instruction at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas, Texas, Bruce Smith returns to Whistling Straits this week, the scene of his first PGA Championship appearance. He tied for 15th in the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship; T-19 in 2008; and finished 24th in the 2004, gaining a PGA Championship berth via a playoff ... Winner, 1994, '95 Northern Texas PGA Section Assistant's Championship, 2000, '01 Northern Texas PGA Western Championship, 1997 Greg Norman Collection Championship ... Runner-up, 2004 Western PGA Club Professional Championship and tied for 15th in 2003 ... Tied for 69th in 2000 GTE Byron Nelson Classic on PGA Tour ... Runner-up, 2004, '97 Southern PGA Professional National Championship… Competed in 1989 U.S. Amateur ... 1995 Northern Texas PGA Assistant Player of the Year ... Owns two course records, including a 64 in 1999 at Northwood Club in Dallas, site of 1952 U.S. Open, and recorded a 66 at Dallas Athletic Club in 1994 Northern Texas PGA assistant professional Championship ... Has recorded five holes-in-one, including one in competition. Since 2004, Smith has led a foundation, "Kisses Fore Kennedy," that was begun to help defray medical costs for his daughter, Kennedy, who was born with lymphatic malformation, a birth defect affecting her face. The foundation has since expanded to help families that can not afford surgical care for their children due to lack of health insurance.

PGA Championship Experience: 2005
Residence: Gilbertsville, Pa.
Age: 38
Ht.: 6' 1"
Wt.: 180
Birth Date: Dec. 31, 1971
Birthplace: Norristown, Pa.
College: Temple University
Home Club/Affiliation: Spring Ford Country Club, Royersford, Pa.
PGA Classification: A-1
Turned Professional: 1994
PGA Membership: 2003
PGA Section: Philadelphia
Personal: Wife, Heather; Children: Olivia, Drew, Lucas
Hobbies/Special Interests: Music, home improvement, fishing

Rich Steinmetz is a PGA head professional at Spring Ford Country Club in Royersford, Pa. ... He tied for 15th in the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship; and T-9 in 2005 ... Winner of 73 professional events, including 2007 Philadelphia PGA Championship and 2009 Philadelphia Open ... Winner, 2002, '05 DeBaufre Trophy for Low Scoring Average in the Philadelphia PGA Section ... He was a member of the 2005 U.S. PGA Cup Team …Steinmetz finished eighth in 2002 TaylorMade-adidas Golf Assistant Professional Championship; and he was a semifinalist in 2004 TaylorMade-adidas Golf Match Play Championship ... Winner, 2005 Delaware Valley Open, 2005 TaylorMade-adidas Classic ... 2006 Philadelphia PGA Player of the Year ... 2004 Philadelphia PGA Assistant Professional of the Year ... Has recorded three holes-in-one, with none in competition.

PGA Championship Experience: 2003, '04, '06, '07
Residence: Troutville, Va.
Age: 45
Ht.: 5' 10"
Wt.: 185
Birth Date: Nov. 27, 1964
Birthplace: Albany, N.Y.
College: University of Mississippi
Home Club/Affiliation: Hanging Rock Golf Club, Salem, Va.
PGA Classification: A-4
Turned Professional: 1986
PGA Membership: 1991
PGA Section: Middle Atlantic
Personal: Wife, Kari; Children: Kalley, Camryn, Colby
Hobbies/Special Interests: Chess, swimming laps and dirt biking

Chip Sullivan is the PGA director of golf at Hanging Rock Golf Club in Salem, Va. ... Winner, 2007 PGA Professional National Championship; T-6 in the 2010 National Championship, aided by a hole-in-one in the third round that earned him a new Club Car Precedent golf car. First reigning PGA Professional National Champion to compete in the Japan PGA Championship, finishing tied for 18th in May 2008 ... Winner of more than 80 PGA-sanctioned events since turning professional in 1987 ... Finished 31st in the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. ... Member of the 2007 PGA Cup Team ... Winner, 1996, 2002, '06 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Championship, 1998 Carolinas PGA Section Championship, 2003 Middle Atlantic PGA Players Championship, 2004 and 2006 Maryland Open, 2006 TaylorMade Invitational in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ... Named 1996, 2005, '06 Middle Atlantic PGA Player of the Year ... Runner-up, 2006 Virginia State Open ... Competed in 2006 PGA Championship, and winner of 11 other events throughout the year ... Inducted in 2005 into Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame ... 2003, '04 Washington Post Professional Player of the Year ... Finished third in 2004 PGA Professional National Championship ... Runner-up, 2004 Middle Atlantic Section Match Play Championship ... Amateur accomplishments include 1986 Southeastern Conference individual title, beating among others in the field, David Toms; member of 1986 First-Team All-SEC Team, and member of 1984 University of Mississippi SEC Champion Team ... Two-time (1981, '82) Louisiana State Junior Champion, defeating John Daly in 1981 ... Sullivan overcame major health issues in December 2006, being diagnosed with hemochromatosis (an overload of iron in the blood) and diabetes ... Has recorded 14 holes-in-one, with four in competition.

PGA Championship Experience: 1999, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '05, '07, '08
Residence: College Station, Texas
Age: 49
Ht.: 5' 10"
Wt.: 200
Birth Date: June 14, 1961
Birthplace: Albany, Minn.
College: Houston Baptist University
Home Club/Affiliation: The Falls Golf and Country Club, New Ulm, Texas
PGA Classification: A-8
Turned Professional: 1985
PGA Membership: 1994
PGA Section: Southern Texas
Personal: Wife, Lucinda; Children: Christopher
Hobbies/Special Interests: Fishing, bird hunting, and college and professional football

Tim Thelen is a PGA assistant professional at The Falls Golf and Country Club in New Ulm, Texas ... Making his ninth overall PGA Championship appearance, Thelen was the winner of the 2000 and 2003 PGA Professional National Championships, earning the 2000 Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Okla in a five-hole playoff over Mark Brown of Oyster Bay, N.Y. In 2003, Thelen rallied to win in 2003 at Twin Warriors Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. ... Thelen earned a berth at Whistling Straits by finishing tied for 11th in the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship ... Tied for runner-up in 2001 and tied for fourth in 2007 and '08 ... Winner, 2001 PGA Professional Player of the Year ... Winner, 2005, '06 BP Trinidad Open ... A member of the 2000, '03, '05 and '07 U.S. PGA Cup Teams, owning a 12-5-0 career record ... Winner, 2007 Puerta Vallarta Pro-Am Championship and the 2009 Callaway Golf PGA Assistant's Championship by seven strokes ... Enjoyed a $36,200 payday in July 2001, finishing tied for 12th in the B.C. Open on the PGA Tour …Was a college teammate of Colin Montgomerie at Houston Baptist University ... Has recorded six holes-in-one, including two in competition. This week, Thelen once again will have his wife, Lucinda, serving as his cadde.

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