Category - Major Events
Block Inside Top 10 at PGA Championship, Continues Magical Ride
By Jay Coffin
Michael Block’s magical week continued Saturday at the PGA Championship, when the PGA Professional suddenly caught fire late in the third round at Oak Hill and ended the day comfortably inside the top 10.
Paired with Justin Rose, Block started the day tied for 10th place and stepped on the first tee in pouring rain to raucous applause. The Rochester, New York, gallery recognized that what the 46-year-old from Mission Viejo, California, is doing this week is historic.
Five hours later, the story was even better.
The last PGA Professional to be among the top 10 after 54 holes at the PGA Championship was Bob Boyd – from Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland – in 1990 at Shoal Creek. He was tied for 10th place after three rounds and ended up tied for 19th place.
On Saturday, Block, the PGA Head Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, bogeyed the first hole but rebounded with a birdie at the second hole when he made a putt from 16 feet.
He made double bogey on the sixth hole to fall back seemingly off the pace.
Then, just as he did during Thursday’s first round, Block did a walk-and-talk on the par-4 14th hole where he was interviewed live, this time by CBS Sports. Block talked about how great it was to play with Rose – although he didn’t look at him much the first three holes because he was nervous playing with him – how supportive the gallery has been and his overall excitement to still be playing over the weekend.
Moments later, Block hit his approach to 8 feet, then made the birdie putt. He followed with another birdie on the par-3 15th from 8 feet and parred the remaining three holes.
I doubt if anybody on this entire property loves golf as much as I love golf. Period.
Michael Block, PGA
Block has shot three consecutive even-par rounds of 70. He’s tied for eighth place, six shots ahead of World No. 1 Jon Rahm. Block was asked about that notion earlier in the week and he was brought to tears thinking about the circumstances.
He wasn’t quite as emotional on Saturday — there’s still work left to be done. But he did enjoy the round immensely.
“I felt like he was rooting for me and I was rooting for him, and the crowd was certainly rooting for him,” Rose said. “He's having fun with them and they're having fun with him. It was a really great energy out there to play with today, and he plays in a sort of a carefree way, just his mannerisms and routine and the way he kind of one look, hit, especially with his putter. He looks very, very strong with that club.
“I wish him well tomorrow, and I know he's got a couple of teenage boys who will be super proud of him, so that's pretty cool.”
Block says he has no problem blocking (literally) out everything about the moment that he’s in.
He knows he’s near the top of the leaderboard. He knows how much money he could potentially earn on Sunday with another great round. He’s paired with Rory McIlroy on Sunday and is only looking ahead.
His personality is such that he’d rather enjoy this ride rather than perseverate over it. He’s played well for three straight days, there is no reason why he can’t shoot another similar round to top off the week.
“I can compete against them,” Block said. “I can hang. I can post a 3- or 4-under tomorrow.”
At this point, who would doubt him?