Courtesy of T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer- PGA.com
A NICE CONSOLATION PRIZE: Mark Sheftic, a PGA Teaching Professional at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., might have left the PGA Professional Narional Championship slightly disappointed.
Making his National Championship debut, Sheftic had a shot to win right up until the final hole. With a bogey on the 72nd hole for a 2-over 73, Sheftic fell into a tie for second, one shot behind the champion, Mike Small.
The defeat was much easier to swallow seeing as it still was more than enough to earn Sheftic a spot in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
"What can I say?" Sheftic said. "But it's a dream come true. It's very emotional because I know how hard it is to get there. It has given me much more confidence in my abilities as a player. I'm very proud to be part of the PGA Championship and looking forward to everything to come."
As excited as Sheftic is, he also knows he won't have a lot of time to prepare for playing on golf's grandest stage.
"My first duty is to teach the members at Merion," he said. "That will not change. I have a limited time to practice because of a very busy teaching schedule. I feel very blessed to be the teaching professional at Merion and I have responsibilities I have to look after. If that means earlier mornings and later nights to get my practice time in, that's what I will do. The Philadelphia Section provides a great tournament schedule to help me prepare. I'll try to play in all the tournaments leading up to the PGA."
All in all, it's safe to say that Sheftic can't wait for PGA Championship week to begin.
"The excitement is hard to express in words," he said. "The greatest satisfaction is knowing all the long hours and hard work has paid off. I'm looking forward to putting my game up with the best in the world and see how I fare."
Sheftic is a 1998 graduate of Coker College.
3 years ago