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Divots--Schultz has sights set on top-20 finish in PNC

June 17, 2007|by TIM KOELBLE

Beaver Creek golf professional Dirk Schultz arrived on the West Coast on Saturday.

He hopes he doesn't return to Hagerstown until one week from Monday and when he does, that it will be with more in his hip pocket than when he left.

Schultz is in Bend, Ore., for the 40th PGA Professional National Championship, Thursday through Sunday, his fifth journey to the biggest tournament of the year for club professionals throughout the country.

The PNC carries a purse of $550,000 and while a title would be a great addition to his resume, of equal importance is making Friday's cut to the top 70 players for an opportunity for a top-20 finish.

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If Schultz can crack the top 20, he would earn a berth in the 89th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

"A top 20 is definitely the goal," said Schultz. "Getting in to one major championship will really be sweet."

Schultz has had recent success in Mid-Atlantic region tournaments, winning the Pro-President and the Cumberland Pro-Am.

"I'm playing as good in my life as I have," said Schultz. "I've got my driver going and I've got confidence in my putter."

The journey won't be easy as 312 club professionals will tee off on two courses at the Sunriver Resort - Crosswater and Meadows. Cosswater is a par-72 layout covering 7,556 yards, while the Meadows is a par-71, 7,001-yard layout.

After the cut on Friday, the final two rounds will be held on the Crosswater course, which exclusively hosted the 2001 championship, then known as the Club Professionals Championship.

This will be the second visit to Sunriver for Schultz, who finished 26th in the 2001 event.

Schultz' closest opportunity to gain a spot in the PGA Championship came in 2005 at Longaberger Country Club, outside of Columbus, Ohio, before he faltered in the final round.

"I really like the (Crosswater) course and I shot a 68, or 69, in one of the rounds before," he said. "I know the course and that will help."

Schultz plans to practice Monday through Wednesday, with some emphasis on learning the Meadows course.

Other Mid-Atlantic region players in the event include 2001 champion Wayne DeFrancesco, Jody Rokisky, Charlie Briggs, David Hutsell, Jeff Rosenberg, Michael Rymer, Tim White, Rick Schuller, John O'Leary and the first-ever couple to qualify, Brendan and Patricia Post.

One last call


The Williamsport Boosters Club has available spots for its outing on Thursday at Beaver Creek. The outing begins at 12:30 p.m. and includes a dinner following golf. The top four teams will be awarded.

Cost per player is $75 and information on playing can be obtained by contacting Scott Duff at 301-223-1989 or 301-992-5833.




Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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