2006 PGA Professional National Championship
|Tournament Info for: 2006 PGA Professional National Championship|
|Date:||June 22 - 25, 2006|
|Site:||Turning Stone Resort & Casino|
|Champion:||Ron Philo Jr.|
|Par:||36 - 36 - 72 (7,294 yards)
36 - 36 - 72 (7,069 yards)
|Sponsors:|| Titleist and FootJoy Worldwide
Cobra Golf ,
Club Car Inc.
Ron Philo Jr. of Westchester, N.Y., executed golf’s dream shot just when he needed it most, then hung on through a three-hole sudden death playoff to defeat Alan Schulte of Fishers, Ind., with a bogey and win the 39th PGA Professional National Championship Sunday at Turning Stone Resort & Casino’s Atunyote Golf Club.
Philo recorded the third hole-in-one of his career, holing out a 4-iron on the 199-yard third hole, then just missed a winning birdie putt on the 18th green to finish regulation play with a 4-under-par 68. Schulte, who ended with a 71 and a matching 10-under-par 278, hit his tee shot on the 11th hole into a water hazard, and after a penalty drop could not get up and down for bogey to extend the drama.
The victory made Philo the fifth Metropolitan PGA Section member to win the major championship for PGA Professionals. He earned $75,000 from a record $550,000 purse.
The scenario brought back vivid memories at Atunyote Golf Club for Philo, who lost a playoff in the 2004 Eastern PGA Club Professional Championship.
"I was in a playoff here two years ago in our (former) Regional Championship and I was not successful, so I was pretty thrilled to just get off the 18th hole the first time because I didn’t get beat on the first hole," said the 40-year-old PGA head professional at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, N.Y. "I’m excited and I’m worn out and ready to sit down and have something to drink."
It was Philo’s moment, having registered three previous top-5 finishes in the National Championship, including a tie for third in 2003. He accomplished his mission with his sister, LPGA star Laura Diaz, in the gallery along with his mother other members of his family and friends.
Schulte’s best showing in seven trips was a seventh place in 2004 and last year tied for 69th.
Both players opened the 10th playoff in National Championship history with pars on the par-5 18th and the par-4 10th. Schulte nearly holed out a wedge approach on the 10th from 107 yards, but the ball bounced 20 feet past the flagstick. The devilish 197-yard 11th hole, which yielded only one birdie all day, was set up with a hole location on the right edge.
"In regulation, I hit a 6-iron and it came up in the bunker," said Schulte. "It’s almost the right length. It didn’t really feel like the wind was helping that much. I tried to cut a little 5-iron and I really just didn’t hit it hard enough. If I had gone ahead and trusted it and hit it and made the swing for a cut, it probably would have turned out just fine. All you’re trying to do is get it front left right there. That’s a brutal hole location and it just didn’t work out."
Schulte’s shoulders slumped after he hit his tee shot.
"All in all, I’m pretty happy with the week. It’s never easy to take what I guess you consider a loss. Heck, coming into the week all I really wanted to do was play well enough to make Medinah (a berth in the 88th PGA Championship), and it was kind of a bonus to have a chance to win."
Lee Rinker of Jupiter, Fla., finished third at 280 after a 70, while defending champion Mike Small of Champaign, Ill., the head golf coach at the University of Illinois, finished fourth place at 281 after a 74, but had held the lead through six holes before a double bogey-bogey collapse on the seventh and eighth holes.
Chris Starkjohann of Cardiff by the Sea, Calif., finished in fifth at 282 after a 72.
Schulte, the 2000 national PGA Assistant Professional Champion, either led or was tied for the lead after the first three rounds, had the lead to himself with two holes to play, but bogeyed the 467-yard, par-4 17th. Earlier, Philo had the lead to himself on the 16th tee, but went bogey-bogey-par to forge the playoff.
Philo’s timely ace on the third hole came after a birdie on the second hole and temporarily gave him the lead at 9-under. It was the fourth hole-in-one of the Championship.
"The hole-in-one was pretty neat," said Philo. "That was my third in competition and it was the longest one I’ve had.
|Low Rounds||Round Leader||Ron Philo Jr.|
|Round 1:||74.23||58||41||214||67 Alan Schulte, Cameron Doan, Robert Wilkin, Steve Schneiter||67 Alan Schulte, Cameron Doan, Robert Wilkin, Steve Schneiter||68|
|Round 2:||73.6||81||37||195||65 Jeff Coston||136 Alan Schulte||139|
|Round 3:||74||19||7||67||68 Jerry Haas, Lee Rinker, Ted Parker||207 Alan Schulte, Mike Small||210|
|Round 4:||74.53||16||7||70||68 Mike Schuchart, Ron Philo Jr.||278 Alan Schulte, Ron Philo Jr.||278|