Rob Labritz won a spot in the PGA Championship with a never-quit approach to the PGA Professional National Championship in French Lick, Indiana, this week. After a rocky first round of 75, he finished 72, 72, 70, to tie for 15th and secure his slot in the season's last major, the PGA Championship to be played at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. His last nine holes made the difference. After an opening 37 on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick, he carded four birdies on the back to surge into the top twenty.
Labritz, the Director of Golf at Bedford's GlenArbor Golf Club, is one of 20 club pros who will compete against the PGA Tour's top players at Whistling Straits August 9-15. Joining him from my neighborhood will be Danny Balin from Burning Tree in Greenwich, CT. Other players of note from the Met Section who made their mark in the tournament include Greg Bisconti from St. Andrews in Hastings (T-34) and Frank Bensel from Century (T-66). Keith Dicciani and Craig Thomas (both Metropolis), John Guyton (Trump National Briarcliff), and Charles Meola (Mohansic) all competed as well.
Notable among Labritz's tournament wins is the 2008 NY State Open and the 2006 NY State PGA Championship.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo.