Three-time PGA Professional Champion Mike Small will have a chance for record fourth win

Mike Small
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Three-time PPC champion Mike Small will have a chance to make history at Sunriver Resort on Wednesday.
By T.J. Auclair
PGA.com
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Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | 10:48 p.m.

SUNRIVER, Oregon -- Illinois golf coach Mike Small is a three-time PGA Professional Champion.

The last win for the 51-year-old, however, came seven years ago at French Lick.

On Wednesday, Small will have a chance to make history, becoming the first player to win the PPC four times.

On Tuesday, Small put himself in position to make a run at win No. 4 with a 2-under 70 at Crosswater, which included birdies on each of his final two holes. At 3-under 212 total, Small was tied for third and three back of leader Rod Perry when he finished.

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"I finished strong yesterday and today, which was big," Small said. "But I have to get off to better starts. I haven't shot par or better on the front nine all week yet. I have to get off to a better start. The par 5s need to get better too. I haven't played them well either."

Small didn't make his first birdie until the 11th hole on Tuesday. He actually missed a six-footer for eagle on the par-5. Even still, it was nice to get off the schneid.

"The birdie at 11 was big, but I only had this far for eagle," Small said. "I missed it. I was hoping to make a three there, but I missed a short putt. But still, it was the first birdie of the day. I need to make some birdies earlier tomorrow if I'm going to get into this thing. I can't wait until the back nine to make birdies like I've been doing all week. I don't think I've made a birdie on the front nine maybe all week. I need to get off to a better start."

Small said the conditions at Crosswater were deceiving in the third round. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud to be found, but the wind was playing tricks.

"It was difficult out there today," he said. "The wind was blowing in a tough direction. We have some left to right drivers with the wind coming in at the end. It's tougher than you think out there. If you lose a little confidence and start guiding it, it gets penal."

Small won the PPC in 2005, 2009 and 2010. He's been a runner up twice and missed the cut for the first time in 13 starts a year ago.

He's delighted to be in contention again and is hoping to find that old mojo for the final round.

"I'm excited to have a chance tomorrow," he said. "I need to recall some of those thoughts and some of those feelings that I had from before. It's been a while -- 7 years since I last won. I'm excited for it. I need to embrace it and I need to recall some of those good feelings I had."  

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.