Schultz prepares for PGA Booz Allen Classic

June 08, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

Today, he is in Poolesville, Md., playing golf. Thursday, he'll be in Bethesda, Md., with all the big boys on the PGA Tour.

If he looks a little past today's effort where he is playing in the Yamaha Pro-Am Tournament Series, Dirk Schultz can be forgiven since he'll tee it up Thursday and Friday in the Booz Allen Classic at the historic Congressional Country Club on the famous Blue Course.

Schultz, along with Wayne DeFrancesco, went through the local qualifier at TPC Avenel to get their spot in the Booz Allen, which has attracted a wealth of players at the top of the world rankings, except for Tiger Woods.


Having just turned 40 in recent weeks, Schultz is coming off a victory in the Middle Atlantic Cleveland Golf Northern Chapter, where he posted a 27-hole 103 at Chartwell Golf Club in Severna Park, Md.

This will be the sixth time Schultz has played in the tournament, and he is going into the fray with a positive attitude.

"I've been playing good golf of late," said Schultz, who endured an ACL operation this past winter and wears a brace on his left knee. "The operation slowed me down a bit and I probably concentrate a little bit more now."

He last played at Congressional in 1994 when he won the Maryland Open, but he reacquainted himself with practice rounds Monday and Tuesday to get a firsthand look at the Mid Atlantic's version of the "Blue Monster."

"With the injury I've been a club shorter, but my game has become better," said Schultz, who had the knee operation on Jan. 4. "I'm confident going in. On a course like Congressional you have to get yourself through the first five or six holes at par or better. Concentration is a key."

Schultz will tee off Thursday at 1:50 p.m. in a group that will include Sean O'Hair and Kevin Stadler, son of PGA Tour veteran Craig Stadler. Friday, the same threesome will tee off at 8:50 a.m.

Congressional, which has hosted U.S. Opens, presidents and members of Congress, is considered one of the great courses in the nation and hosted touring professionals in the 1980s before TPC Avenel became the host venue. The tournament switched back to Congressional when TPC Avenal was scheduled to undergo extensive course renovations.

With the stop coming the week before the U.S. Open, more top players are in the mix, including Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco.

Congressional's Blue Course will challenge golfers with a par-71 layout covering 7,232 yards, a slight change from 1997 when it last hosted the tournament at par 70, 7,213 yards.

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