The Hanging Rock pro began the day tied with Mark Sheftic for the lead, but back-to-back bogeys sent him tumbling and he never recovered.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
SUNRIVER, Ore. — Chip Sullivan won the PGA Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in 2007.
Well, this week’s trip to the remote golf and outdoors retreat in central Oregon wasn’t worth a second Walter Hagen Cup, but it did come with a sweet pair of parting gifts — a berth in the Aug. 8-11 PGA Championship and a spot on the PGA Cup team that will spend a Ryder Cup-type experience in England later this year.
Sullivan, the PGA director of golf at Salem’s Hanging Rock Golf Club, fell short of winning a second national crown, struggling to a final-round 4-over-par 76 to finish in a four-way tie for fourth. Not exactly swag bag work there, either, as he won $22,000.
Sullivan, 48, who began the day tied for the lead with Pennsylvanian Mark Sheftic, started slowly with back-to-back bogeys on the par-4 Nos. 4 and 5 to fall three shots back and never was able to recover.
Left-hander Rod Perry, 39, of Port Orange, Fla., carded a final-round 69 for a winning 72-hole total of 10-under 277. Texan Ryan Polzin (71) finished three shots back in second. Sullivan finished at 283, six shots off the pace.
It will be the sixth PGA Championship appearance for Sullivan. The PGA Tour’s final major will be contested Aug. 8-11 at famed Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. While that’s a major perk, it’s the trip to England to face the Brits that had a dog-tired Sullivan most excited.
“Very few people realize that if you don’t win, the next biggest goal is to make the PGA Cup team,’’ Sullivan said. “And I did that in a playoff after we got done with the round by birdieing the first hole.
“It’s a huge deal. They do the exact same for the PGA club pros as they do the Ryder Cup ... you get outfits every day, you get suits every night, first-class airline tickets, everything is big time. It’s going to be awesome. That’s bigger and more important to me than actually playing in the PGA Championship, if that means anything.”
Sullivan said the hellish course — the 7,530-yard Crosswater Club layout — and all the inclement weather took its toll on him Wednesday.
“I’ve never had to put on and take off my rainsuit so many times in a four-day tournament,’’ he said. “It will wear you out there.
“But [Wednesday], things sort of got away today, I wasn’t hitting my driver well and that just put me in trouble all day long. It was just brutal. I couldn’t feel the shot. You’ve got to be in play and I didn’t do it. I found some water hazards, made some bogeys out of them... it was a long day.”
Sullivan opened the tournament with rounds of 69-67-71. After making six birdies the first two days, he made only two the final two days. He recorded five times as many bogeys in the final round as he did the first 54 holes. Still, Sullivan couldn’t feel bad about the results. Here was a guy who is 10 years older than most of his competitors
“It’s fun to have the TV on you, get out of the office at Hanging Rock and come out and be out on TV,’’ he said. “People from all over the world are watching you. The Golf Channel, hell, I don’t know how many countries they’re in now. You could probably be in China and be watching it for all I know.
“That always gets your juices flowing and it’s fun to have my phone blow up with everybody pulling and backing you.”
Sullivan said he hopes to have Blacksburg Country Club head professional Brad Ewing on his bag at the PGA. Sullivan, if anything, is always thinking.
“I’m calling Brad next,’’ he said. “He used to be an assistant at Oak Hill and I want to get him on my bag.”