GREENWICH, Conn. Well done. Congratulations. Nice playing.
Matt Dobyns was getting an earful of accolades Wednesday after running away with the Metropolitan Professional Championship at Fairview Country Club.
So were 11 other players.
Winning is always important, but the endgame here is to play well enough to secure an invitation to play in the PGA Professional National Championship.
“Getting in that field gives you a chance to change your life,” said GlenArbor director of golf Rob Labritz, who had zero remorse after struggling to make putts and shooting a final-round 74 to finish tied for third with a 4-under total of 212. “And if you win that one, you’re getting six PGA Tour exemptions along with a chance to play in a major.”
Top finishers at the PNC move on to the PGA Championship.
“It’s the biggest event club pros play all year,” Century assistant Frank Bensel said after closing with a 2-under 70 to move into a third-place tie. “There’s a chance you could be playing in a major, and that is the pinnacle.”
Nobody was deflecting more praise than David Young.
The 54-year-old Sleepy Hollow pro was the runner-up, shooting a final-round 71 to finish 5-under. He was five shots in back of Dobyns, the Fresh Meadow head pro who won the PGA PNC earlier this summer at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Given the number of hybrids and long irons Young had to hit into the greens at Fairview, it was a bit of an upset.
“I played great for me,” he said. “I’ve made the PNC in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. I have to start working out so I can get in one when I’m in my 60s. I’m a little surprised. There are so many good players in the Met Section these days. To finish in the top 10 here is pretty good. … You have to play for position and I did great. I had very few tough first putts and only missed a couple of greens.”
Young last qualified five years ago when the event was held at French Lick Resort.
Turning Stone Resort near Utica is hosting the PGA PNC in 2016, and there will be five other local players joining Young, Labritz and Bensel.
Five straight birdies on the back nine launched Apawamis head pro James Ondo up the leaderboard Thursday, and he finished with a 1-under total of 215 and tied Saxon Woods head pro Charlie Meola and Winged Foot assistant Grant Sturgeon.
Golf Club of Purchase assistant Kirk Satterfield got in with an even-par total of 217.
Dobyns, Sturgeon and Quaker Ridge head pro Brian Gaffney have exemptions for next year’s PNC after qualifying earlier this summer for the upcoming PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
The stakes can alter the approach golfer’s take in the final round.“Ultimately, you’re just looking to get in the clubhouse with the right score,” Labritz said. “I alway try to get as big a cushion as possible in the first two rounds, because there are usually one or two shots that cost me.”
Nobody gives up on winning, but taking unnecessary risks can quickly prove costly.
“I think it depends on how you’re feeling about your game,” Bensel said. “If you’re playing well, you can be more aggressive. If you’re not sure, it’s smarter to play more conservatively.”
Metropolitan PGA Championship
At Fairview Country Club – par 72
1. Matt Dobyns, Fresh Meadow 68-70-68–206
2. David Young, Sleepy Hollow 69-71-71–211
3. Frank Bensel, Century 71-71-70–212
3. Rob Labritz, GlenArbor 70-68-74–212
5. James Ondo, Apawamis Club 72-73-70–215
5. Grant Sturgeon, Winged Foot 73-71-71–215
5. Charlie Meola, Saxon Woods 68-71-76–215
8. Kirk Satterfield, Golf Club of Purchase 70-76-70–216
9 Jim Farrell, Creek Club 75-70-72–217
9. Jesse Fitzgerald, Garden City 70-72-75–217
11. John Guyton, Wheatley Hills 68-77-73–218
11. Nick Beddow, Piping Rock 73-72-73–218
11. Mark Brown, Tam O’Shanter Club 72-72-74–218
The following players failed to qualify for the 2016 PGA PNC
11. Tony DeMaria, Westchester Golf Range 67-73-78–218*
15. Brian Gaffney, Quaker Ridge 73-72-74–219
15. Andrew Gruss, Greenwich 73-71-75–219
15. Mike Diffley, Pelham 72-72-75–219**