Five Met Area Professionals will Compete in PGA Championship at Baltusrol
UPDATE (June 29, 2016) - With a four-day total of 10-under par 278, Tam O'Shanter head professional Mark Brown finished tied for second at this week's PGA Professional Championship (PPC) at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y., leading five Met Area professionals to qualify for the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club, July 28-31.
Matt Dobyns of Fresh Meadow, Brian Gaffney of Quaker Ridge, Rob Labritz of GlenArbor, and Ben Polland of Deepdale each punched their ticket to Baltusrol as well by finishing in the top 20.
Brown compiled four sub-par rounds en route to what is his third time finishing second at the event, which includes a runner-up finish in 2000 following a playoff. Brown, whose week began with a hole in one during Sunday's opening round, will be making his fifth PGA Championship appearance.
Dobyns, PPC winner in 2012 and 2015, registered another impressive finish as well, tying for seventh at 5-under 283. The long-hitter began his title defense with a 1-over 73, but improved his score each day (71-70-69) to steadily climb the leaderboard and easily secure a qualifying position. The 2015 PGA Professional Player of the Year will be competing in his second straight PGA Championship, and third overall.
Gaffney, Labritz and Polland all finished the championship at 2-under 286, in an eight-way tie for 13th. The trio avoided the playoff for the 20th and final position between those finishing at 1-under (competitor Karen Paolozzi chose to compete from forward tees, thus foregoing her opportunity to qualify for the PGA Championship by competing from the championship tees, and finished at 5-under). Gaffney scored pars on his final six holes to earn his way to Baltusrol, while Labritz and Polland both tallied birdies on the 72nd hole, a 600-plus yard par-5, to dramatically solidify their qualifying positions.
Gaffney, who last year at Whistling Straits became the first PGA Club Professional in four years to make the cut, will be competing in his fifth career PGA Championship. Labritz will also be competing in his fifth PGA Championship, while reigning Met Open champion Polland is now 2-for-2 in qualifying for the PGA Championship after taking runner-up honors in last year's PPC.
UPDATE (June 29, 2016) - Tam O' Shanter head professional Mark Brown will begin the final round of the 2016 PGA Professional Championship in second place and just two shots off the lead at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. Brown leads a total of eight Met Area professionals that have survived two cuts to compete in Wednesday's final round. The top 20 finishers in the event will advance to the 2016 PGA Championship, July 28-31 at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Brown's week got off to an exciting start with a hole in one during Sunday's first round, in which he shot 68 at Atunyote Golf Club. The starting field of 312 professionals competed on each course (Turning Stone's Atunyote Golf Club and Kaluhyat Golf Club), over the first two days, while the final 36 holes take place at Atunyote. Brown continued the steady play with rounds of 70 and 69, for a three-day total of 9-under 207. He trails Austin, Texas native Omar Uresti by two strokes entering Wednesday's final round.
Meanwhile, several more area professionals are in the mix to punch tickets to Baltusrol. Brian Gaffney of Quaker Ridge, Matt Dobyns of Fresh Meadow, Ben Polland of Deepdale and Grant Sturgeon of Winged Foot are all looking to make their second consecutive appearance in the PGA Championship. Gaffney stood at 3-under through 54 holes, tied for eighth. Reigning PGA Professional Championship winner Dobyns has improved his score each day (73-71-70) and is 2-under through 54 holes (T15), while both Polland and Sturgeon are 1-under through three rounds (T21). GlenArbor's Rob Labritz is looking to qualify for his fifth PGA Championship, matchin Dobyns through 54 holes at 2-under.
Bill Hook of Knickerbocker and Charles Meola of Saxon Woods are also playing on the final day of competition, needing quality rounds to make a run for a qualifying position. Hook enters the final round at even par following a rounds of 72-75-69, while Meola is 1-over (73-71-73).
James Ondo of The Apawamis Club made the championship's initial cut, but fell short of qualifying for the final round after a second cut was made following 54 holes.
The final round may be viewed on Golf Channel from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (June 24, 2016) - A total of 28 Met Area professionals will be competing at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y., June 26-29, in hopes of claiming the 2016 PGA Professional Championship title and also punching a ticket to the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Leading the field is Fresh Meadow head professional and defending champion Matt Dobyns, claimed his second win in the championship at the Philadelphia Cricket Club last year. Dobyns, who also won in 2012, led a strong contingent of Met Area professionals in 2015, as Deepdale assistant Ben Polland and Winged Foot assistant Grant Sturgeon finished second and tied for third, respectively. Brett Jones of Due Process Stable and Brian Gaffney of Quaker Ridge also locked up top-20 finishes last season to compete in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, and are in the field once again.
The starting field includes 312 professionals, who will compete on each course (Turning Stone's Atunyote Golf Club and Kaluhyat Golf Club) once in the first two rounds, with the final two rounds contested at Atunyote Golf Club. Following the first 36 holes of play, the field will be cut to the low 90 scores and ties. A second cut will be made following the third round to the low 70 scores and ties. The top 20 finishers in the event will advance to the 2016 PGA Championship.
The entire list of Met Are professionals in the field includes:
|Greg Baker of Rockaway River||Lou Kubisa of Knob Hill|
|Alex Beach of Ridgewood (NJ)||Darrell Kestner of Deepdale|
|Nicholas Beddow of Piping Rock||Sam Kang of Essex Golf Driving Range|
|Frank Bensel of Century||Rob Labritz of GlenArbor|
|Mark Brown of Tam O'Shanter||Dave McGovern of Brooklake|
|Mike Burke of Montammy||Matt McKeon of Spring Lake|
|Matt Dobyns of Fresh Meadow||Charles Meola of Saxon Woods|
|James Farrell of The Creek||James Ondo of The Apawamis Club|
|Jesse Fitzgerald of Garden City Golf Club||Ben Polland of Deepdale|
|Brian Gaffney of Quaker Ridge||Joshua Rackley of Tam O'Shanter|
|Joe Galan of Alpine||Kirk Satterfield of Golf Club of Purchase|
|John Guyton of Wheatley Hills||Brent Studer of Metedeconk National|
|Bill Hook of Knickerbocker||Grant Sturgeon of Winged Foot|
|Brett Jones of Due Process Stable||David Young of Sleepy Hollow|
Coverage of the PGA Professional Championship may be followed on Golf Channel. The first round will be on a tape delay from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, while the second through fourth rounds (Monday through Wednesday) have scheduled coverage from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day.