Rob Labritz, the director of golf at GlenArbor in Bedford, is playing in his fourth PGA Championship. The 42-year-old Pound Ridge resident is writing daily diary entries for The Journal News about his experience this week.
I had a great warm-up session. I was hitting the ball perfect, right where I wanted. I putted, hit some bunker shots, hit a few out of the rough and went to the first tee feeling really good. The guys in my group were Shane Lowry from Ireland and John Senden from Australia, and we had some fun talking.
There was a big crowd starting to form on the first tee. It was a little foggy out. They announced my name, and everybody cheered. It was awesome. I ripped a shot probably 300 yards down the right side. I had 176 into the flag and hit a good shot, but we couldn’t see where the ball went because the sun was just starting to come up. I asked the caddie where the ball went, and he was like, “Honest to God, Rob, I don’t know.”
As I’m walking to the hole, I saw a little speck of white under the grass lip in a bunker, on top of the sand. It was wedged in there. I had to go out sideways and backward and put the ball in the rough. I wedged it out to six or seven feet and lipped out the putt. Double bogey.
Now I started getting all nervous.
I got a little quick on the next tee and pulled a 3-wood on the next hole into the rough. It was almost unplayable. I wedged it out, hit my approach within six feet, lipped out and ended up with a bogey.
I made good pars on No. 3 and No. 4. Then crazy things started to happen. I hit a really good drive on No. 5 down the right side turning back, and I clipped the very top branch of a tree I’ve been flying all week and kicked straight down. I hit a 5-iron that did exactly what I wanted, and the ball hit a tree and kicked into the water. … I made double there.
I was just like, “Really?”
On the par 3 sixth hole, I hit a 6-iron right at it. The ball hit pin high and rolled over the back into the water. … Another double.
I was in a bunker at No. 7 and bogeyed.
From there, I played solid. I didn’t make any putts. I’m a little angry. I hate to say that I’m swinging great, because it sounds awful after shooting a 78. … There’s fire in my belly right now. … I’m making the cut.