Club pros ready for their big tournament

Posted: June 26, 2011

It may be a bit much to expect club professionals from the Philadelphia area to find ways to take a break from their busy work schedules and prepare for their biggest tournament of the year, but that's not going to stop them from having some fun.

At least they won't have to travel far to compete in the 44th PGA Professional National Championship, which begins Sunday on the East and West Courses of Hershey Country Club.

Fourteen players from the Philadelphia Section PGA will tee it up for the 72-hole event, which ends Wednesday. The top 20 will earn berths in the PGA Championship, which will be played in August at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Three section members - Rich Steinmetz of Spring Ford, Stu Ingraham of MGolf, and Mark Sheftic of Merion - competed in the 2010 PGA and would love to get another ticket at the end of the PNC.

"I don't go out with any expectations," said the 39-year-old Steinmetz, of Gilbertsville. "I just go out and play and have a good time. This is probably the toughest time of the year for a club pro, especially in this region. But it is what it is and you try to make the best of it."

Ingraham, 51, of Broomall, who finished 72 holes in last month's PGA Seniors Championship, said it's still a thrill to participate with his fellow club pros. He isn't too worried about the PNC's spot on the schedule.

"You've just got to go do your job and not worry too much about it," he said. "It's not like you're going in January to play a tournament where you haven't played for three months. In June, most golfers have played in the last few months."

Sheftic, 36, of Blue Bell, has a brief but interesting history in the PNC, having finished second and third the last two years - the only two times he has played in the event.

"You try to play when you can, practice when you can," Sheftic said of his preparation. "The good thing with the club pro is you have a couple of practice rounds and you can work on your game. You get amped up for just being out there. It gives you a little extra."

Other Philadelphia section members in the field are John DiMarco of Cherry Hill; Rob Shuey of Shippensburg; Terry Hertzog of Lititz; Bill Sautter of Ocean City, N.J.; Cleve Coldwater of Clarks Summit; Greg Farrow of Westampton, N.J.; John Appleget of Dorothy, N.J.; David McNabb of Newark, Del.; John Allen of Media; John Spina of Schwenksville; and Bill Walker of Riverton, N.J.


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