It was another close call for Sonny Skinner at the PGA Professional National Championship. For the second time in three years Skinner, the teaching professional from River Pointe Golf Club in Albany, finished second, although he still earned a spot in next month's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
Skinner made up a two-shot deficit on the back nine, and the match was tied with three holes left. The turning point came on the 16th, where eventual champion Mike Small nearly made a hole-in-one on the 215-yard hole, and Skinner made a bogey. Small, who won the event for the third time, added another birdie and won by three strokes.
Skinner, 49, who also was the runner-up in the 2008 PNC at Reynolds Plantation, opened with a 68 and followed that with three 71s to finish at 281. Eight other Georgia PGA members also competed, with Jeff Hull of Athens and Clark Spratlin of Cumming making the cut, but they failed to finish among the top 20 who secured a place in the PGA Championship field.
Sea Island resident Davis Love III is going to the Open Championship, formerly known as the British Open, for the 24th consecutive year. Love got in when Anthony Kim withdrew. Kim had thumb surgery in May and plans to return to action at the Canadian Open. Love's best finish at the Open Championship was a tie for fourth in 2003 at Royal St. George's. Ricky Barnes also got an exemption for St. Andrews when David Toms withdrew because of a shoulder injury. ...
Last week's mediocre performance by Tiger Woods at the AT&T National marked the fourth time in his professional career that he failed to break par in at least one round in a non-major when playing a full event of 72 or 90 holes. The most recent was at the 1999 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Woods has played six consecutive tournaments without a victory. In 1998 he won the BellSouth Classic in his ninth start, his longest stretch to open the season without a win.
Former Georgia State standout Joel Sjoholm tied for fourth at The Princess Golf Tournament in Bastad, Sweden, on the European Challenge Tour. It was his second-best performance as a professional; he had a runner-up finish in 2008. It was his fifth top-10 finish. Sjoholm closed with a 67 and won $10,000. ... Chris Kirk, a former UGA All-American, was named co-player of the month on the Nationwide Tour. Kirk shared the honor with Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey after each posted his first victory of the year. Kirk continues to lead the Nationwide Tour in earnings and is in position to earn a spot on the 2011 PGA Tour. ... Jason Bruce of Dawsonville, Lucas Ramey of Atlanta and Nathan Wickline of Macon were among the 46 graduates of the PGA Professional Management Program in Port St. Lucie, Fla. ... The Achasta golf community in Dahlonega will hold a new collegiate women's tournament featuring 48 schools from all three NCAA divisions Aug. 3-5. A field of 54 twosomes will compete in alternate shot the first day, better ball the second day and combined score the third day.
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