By Mike Dougherty
After holing out for a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn the final spot in the upcoming PGA Championship, an emotionally drained Rob Labritz was looking forward to multiple glasses of wine.
The director of golf at GlenArbor rolled in a lengthy putt for par on the last hole of the PGA Professional National Championship on Wednesday at Sunriver Resort in Oregon, signed for a 72 and waited to see whether a 1-over 288 total would be enough.
He was among six golfers that went to a playoff with three spots in the summer’s final major at Oak Hill in Rochester up for grabs.
Danny Balin of Burning Tree in Greenwich, Conn. was also part of the playoff and got in along with Bob Gaus when they rolled in birdies on the first extra hole.
That left four players for the last spot.
Labritz pulled his tee shot into a bunker on the next hole and wasn’t able to do much from a bad lie. He was left with 95 yards into the par 4. The wedge in was perfect, hopping twice and spinning into the hole. Labritz went into celebration mode, but settled quickly and waited until Jason Schmuhl missed a birdie putt before exhaling.
The 42-year-old from Pound Ridge will be playing in his fourth PGA Championship. He was the low club pro in 2010 at Whistling Straits.
“You have to play every shot,” Labritz said in a Golf Channel interview after the round. “You just never know when something magical can happen, and that was magical.”
Greg Bisconti also started the day tied for 22nd and was paired with Labritz, and got off to a good start. The St. Andrew’s assistant was 1-under through eight holes, but he bogeyed three of the next four to fall off the pace. Bisconti closed with a 73, and wound up tied for 24th with a 2-over 289 total.
Metropolis assistant John Guyton tied for 59th.