2005 PGA Professional National Championship
|Tournament Info for: 2005 PGA Professional National Championship|
|Date:||June 23 - 26, 2005|
|Site:||Kiawah Island Resort - Ocean Course|
|Par:||36 - 36 - 72 (7,355 yards)
36 - 36 - 72 (6,229 yards)
36 - 36 - 72 (7,355 yards)
|Sponsors:|| Titleist and FootJoy Worldwide
Cobra Golf ,
Club Car Inc. ,
So, how does a college golf coach get a leg up on recruiting?
You follow the Mike Small plan by first winning a national championship on The Ocean Course, a Pete Dye-a-bolical layout where the wind is your partner and big numbers on scorecards are as commonplace.
Next, you withstand a day’s rain delay after you were off to a great start in the third round, and you shake off Sunday morning rust and an opening bogey. Finally, you speed away to a 3-under-par 69 and rest in the clubhouse for over an hour before the verdict is in.
Simple? It was anything but textbook, though the 39-year-old University of Illinois coach made his tour of the 7,355-yard Ocean Course appear that he was well in control.
Small’s 72-hole total of 1-over-par 289, the highest winning total in CPC history, earned him $67,000 from a purse of $500,000, and a big dose of satisfaction.
“It’s a great feeling to know that I could come here and withstand my emotions in the tournament,” said Small, a runner-up by a stroke a year ago. “Like Barry Evans [2002 Champion] said, ‘Welcome to the club.’ It’s kind of nice to join those guys as a Champion.”
Travis Long of Henderson, Nev., making his CPC debut, finished two strokes back after a 71. Long led Small by a stroke after cruising to 5-under par through 11 holes. But his chance to overtake Small faded away on the back nine with a pair of bogeys, capped by a double bogey when his 7-iron tee shot found the water on the 17th hole.
“It was a little disappointing come down there,” said Long, with a wry grin. “I knew I had to make one more birdie with three holes to go. I was struggling with the cameras around me. I was actually nervous all day. I think I tried to get a little too aggressive, play to the right of the pin and draw it right. I kind of blocked it out to the right.”
Scott Spence of Shorewood, Minn., the third-round leader, struggled home with a 75 to finish third at 293. Darrell Kestner, the 1996 PGA Club Professional Champion from Glen Cove, N.Y., was fourth at 294 after a 70, and Ron Philo Jr. of Amelia Island, Fla., fifth at 295.
Two-time Champion Tim Thelen of Richmond, Texas, two-time runner-up Bob Ford of Oakmont, Pa., and CPC rookie Brett Melton of Monee, Ill., shared sixth at 296. Ford rallied to 4-under-par on his round and within three strokes of the lead before being derailed by a pair of bogeys and a double bogey to come in at 72.
Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn., the lone woman professional in the field and the first to make the cut in CPC history, finished tied for 64th with a 78.
Small, a former Tour professional with two wins on the former Nike Tour, said that he had “competed all over the world in every tour except the LPGA.”
“A friend of mine said earlier in the week that a lot of guys who finish second one year have won the next,” said Small, “I said, ‘That’s a good vibe.’ Bob (Sowards of Dublin, Ohio) won it last year and deserved it. Hopefully, I deserve it this year.
“This is the biggest accomplishment yet for me. The rewards for this thing are so cool. I think it will help everything, even recruiting, because I hope that players will come and want to play for someone who can help them.”
Small will lead a 10-member U.S. Team that will face Great Britain & Ireland in the 22nd PGA Cup, Sept. 23-25, at The K Club in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland. It is the club professional version of the Ryder Cup.
“I can’t wait for that trip, and I’m sure it will be great,” said Small. Before traveling overseas, Small will compete next month in the Cialis Western Open, then join a 25-member PGA club professional contingent in the 87th PGA Championship, Aug. 11-14, at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J.
Though much attention was deservedly focused on Small’s impressive afternoon finish, it was a more impressive bogey save on the 14th hole Sunday morning that jet-started his day. He had to sink a 35-footer that left him 1-under- par, and allowed him to finish his third round at 71.
“That putt was my best shot of the day,” said Small. “It got me calmed down.”
In the afternoon, Small rallied to charge past Spence, who lost ground with bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes. Small birdied the first hole, draining a 20-foot putt, made an eight-footer for birdie at the fourth, bogeyed the fifth, birdied the seventh from 10 feet and knocked in a six-footer for birdie at the 15th.
He then went to the clubhouse, cooled down and went to the practice range for a light warm-up. “This was awesome, a great event,” said Small. “This course was really something. The greens are so different than what I’ve ever seen. In comparing to playing Whistling Straits last year (in the PGA Championship), I’d say that Whistling Straits is like this place, only on steroids. I mean that in a good sense, because they’re both tough.
“I believe that golf tournaments mean a lot more to me now, because I’m not playing as many as I did in the past. This experience certainly means a lot to me, and I’ll never forget it.”
|Low Rounds||Round Leader||Mike Small|
|Round 1:||75.64||15||10||128||68 Alan Morin, Mark Mielke||68 Alan Morin, Mark Mielke||73|
|Round 2:||79.02||0||2||151||72 Brett Melton, Craig Thomas||144 Alan Morin, Travis Long||149|
|Round 3:||79.07||1||1||73||71 Mike Small||218 Scott Spence||220|
|Round 4:||74.57||12||7||56||67 Chip Johnson||289 Mike Small||289|