Bios: 20 pros qualify for PGA Championship

Mike Small at the 2009 PGA Championship.
Mike Small at the 2009 PGA Championship. ( Associated Press )

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Here are capsules of the 20 qualifiers from the 43rd Professional National Championship into the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. (presented in order of finish):

1. Mike Small

  • Age: 44
  • Occupation: Head coach of the men’s golf team at the University of Illinois
  • Hometown: Champaign, Ill.
  • College: University of Illinois
  • Major championships: Five PGA Championships (2004-07, ’09); three U.S. Opens (1994, ’98, 2007).
  • Career accomplishments: A three-time winner of the Professional National Championship (2005, ’09, '10) and has finished second twice (2004, ’07) and fourth (2006); shares the PNC record for most career victories with Larry Gilbert; has been a member of three U.S. PGA Cup teams; was the low club professional at the 2007 PGA Championship; has won eight Illinois PGA Championships and seven in a row starting in 2001; has won four Illinois Opens; won twice on the Nike Tour (1997 Monterey Open and 1997 Cleveland Open).

2. Sonny Skinner

  • Age: 49
  • Occupation: Teaching professional at River Pointe Golf Club, Albany, Ga.
  • Hometown: Sylvester, Ga.
  • College: Abraham Baldwin Colllege
  • Major championships: 2008 PGA Championship (MC)
  • Career accomplishments: Runner-up at the 2008 Professional National Championship; 2008 PGA professional of the year; 2006 Georgia PGA player of the year; 2010 PGA Match Play Championship winner; won Nationwide Tour’s Shreveport Open (1993) and Richmond Open (1994).

3. Mark Sheftic

  • Age: 35
  • Occupation: Teaching professional at Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
  • Hometown: Blue Bell, Pa.
  • College: Coker College
  • Major championships: 2009 PGA Championship (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: T-2 at the 2009 Professional National Championship; was a member of the 2009 U.S. PGA Cup team; runner-up at the 2004 and ’07 Philadelphia Opens; has three top-10 finishes at the Pennsylvania State Open.

4. Danny Balin

  • Age: 28
  • Occupation: Assistant professional at Burning Tree Country Club, Greenwich, Conn.
  • Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
  • College: Penn State
  • Career accomplishments: T-9 at the 2008 Metropolitan PGA Open, eighth in 2007; finished 25th in the 2009 Argentine Open.

5. Troy Pare

  • Age: 34
  • Occupation: Head professional at Wannamoisett Country Club, Rumford, R.I.
  • Hometown: Wauregan, Conn.
  • Career accomplishments: Won the 2005 New England PGA Championship and the New England PGA Assistant Professional Championship; runner-up at the 2004 and ’10 New England PGA; runner-up at the 2010 New England Open.

6. Mitch Lowe

  • Age: 43
  • Occupation: Director of instruction at Del Rio Country Club, Modesto, Calif.
  • Hometown: San Francisco
  • College: University of the Pacific
  • Major championships: 2009 PGA Championship (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: Northern California PGA player of the Year in 2000 and ’05.

6. David Hutsell

  • Age: 39
  • Occupation: Director of instruction at The Elkridge Club in Baltimore, Md.
  • Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
  • College: Towson State
  • Career accomplishments: T-25 at 2001 Professional National Championship; T-70 at the PGA Tour’s Booz Allen Championship in 2002; medalist at a U.S. Open local qualifying site in 2000.

6. Chip Sullivan

  • Age: 45
  • Occupation: Director of golf at Hanging Rock Golf Club, Salem, Wa.
  • Hometown: Troutville, Va.
  • College: Mississippi
  • Major championships: Four PGA Championships (MC in 2003, ’06, ’07; T-31 in 2004).
  • Career accomplishments: Won the 2007 Professional National Championship; won three Middle Atlantic PGAs; was a member of the 2007 U.S. PGA Cup team; won 1998 Carolinas PGA; a three-time Middle Atlantic PGA player of the year; as an amateur, was the medalist at the 1986 Southeastern Conference Championship; won consecutive (1981-82) Louisiana State Junior titles.

9. Stu Ingraham

  • Age: 50
  • Occupation: Head professional at M Golf Range and Learning Center, Newtown Square, Pa.
  • Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
  • College: East Tennessee State
  • Major championships: Five PGA Championships (MC in 1989-91, T-78 in 1996, T31 in 1993)
  • Career accomplishments: 1998 Pennsylvania Open champion; three-time Philadelphia PGA player of the year; made the cut at two PGA Championships and finished T-31 in 1993.

9. Keith Ohr

  • Age: 35
  • Occupation: Head professional at Wildwood Country Club, Louisville, Ky.
  • Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
  • College: University of Louisville
  • Career accomplishments: Third in the 1994 Kentucky State Amateur, runner-up in 1996; won the 2001 Kentucky Open and the 2005 Kentucky PGA Match Play Championship; was named the 2008 Kentucky PGA player of the year.

11. Tim Thelen

  • Age: 49
  • Occupation: Assistant professional at The Falls Golf and Country Club, New Ulm, Texas
  • Hometown: College Station, Texas
  • College: Houston Baptist
  • Major championships: Eight PGA Championships (MC 1999-2003, ’05, ’07, ’08)
  • Career accomplishments: Two-time winner of the Professional National Championship (2000, 2003) with six other top-10 finishes; 2001 PGA professional of the year; has a 12-5 career record as a member of four U.S. PGA Cup teams (2000, ’03, ’05 and ’07); T-12 at the PGA Tour’s B.C. Open in 2001.

11. Ryan Benzel

  • Age: 31
  • Occupation: Teaching professional at Battle Creek Golf Course, Tulalip, Wash.
  • Hometown: Bothell, Wash.
  • College: University of Idaho
  • Major championships: 2007-09 PGA Championships (71st place in 2007, MC in 2008-09).
  • Career accomplishments: Three-time winner of the Washington State PGA Match Play Championship (2004-06); member of the last two U.S. PGA Cup teams; T-2 at the 2007 Professional National Championship, T-4 in both 2008 and ’09; 2007 Washington PGA assistant professional of the year.

11. Scott Hebert

  • Age: 41
  • Occupation: Head professional at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Acme, Mich.
  • Hometown: Traverse City, Mich.
  • College: Ferris State
  • Major championships: Three PGA Championships (MC 2007-09).
  • Career accomplishments: Won the 2008 Professional National Championship and has two other top-20 finishes (T-13 in 2007, T-16 in 2009); has won the Michigan Open six times and the Michigan PGA four times; Michigan PGA player of the year in 2006, ’07 and ’09; was a member of the 2009 U.S. PGA Cup team.

11. Robert Moss

  • Age: 41
  • Occupation: Head professional at Pepper Pike (Ohio) Club
  • Hometown: Broadview Heights, Ohio
  • College: Kent State
  • Major championships: 2005 PGA Championship (MC)
  • Career accomplishments: Won three Ohio Opens (1999, 2001, 2005); two-time Northern Ohio PGA player of the year; runner-up at the Nike Tour Tri-Cities Open (1997) and the Inland Empire Open (1996).

15. Robert McClellan

  • Age: 30
  • Occupation: Head professional at Butler (Pa.) Country Club.
  • Hometown: Butler, Pa.
  • College: Liberty
  • Career accomplishments: Third place at the 2006 and 2009 Pennsylvania Opens, fourth in 2005; as an amateur, was a 2000 Big South Conference Academic All-America.

15. Jason Schmuhl

  • Age: 38
  • Occupation: Head professional at Windsor (Calif.) Golf Club
  • Hometown: Windsor, Calif.
  • College: Sonoma State
  • Career accomplishments: Won 2008 Northern California PGA; runner-up at the 2007 Northern California PGA Match Play.

15. Rob Labritz

  • Age: 39
  • Occupation: Director of golf at GlenArbor Golf Club, Bedford Hills, N.Y.
  • Hometown: Pound Ridge, N.Y.
  • College: Central Connecticut State
  • Major championships: 2002 and ’03 PGA Championships (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: Won 2006 New York State PGA and 2008 New York State Open; runner-up, 2002 and ’04 PGA Stroke Play Championship; won Metropolitan Section Head Professional Championship.

15. Kyle Flinton

  • Age: 44
  • Occupation: Head professional at Quail Creek Golf and Country Club, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • College: Central State University
  • Major championships: 2008 PGA Championship (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: Has won three PGA Assistant Professional Championships; has won both the Oklahoma Open (2006) and Oklahoma Amateur (1986); two-time winner of the South Central PGA Championship.

15. Rich Steinmetz

  • Age: 38
  • Occupation: Head professional at Spring Ford Country Club, Royersford, Pa.
  • Hometown: Gilbertsville, Pa.
  • College: Temple
  • Major championships: 2005 PGA Championship (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: T-9 at the 2005 Professional National Championship; won the 2007 Philadelphia PGA and the 2009 Philadelphia Open; was a member of the 2005 U.S. PGA Cup team; 2006 Philadelphia PGA player of the year and the 2004 Philadelphia PGA assistant professional of the year.

15. Bruce Smith

  • Age: 43
  • Occupation: Director of instruction at Brookhaven Country Club, Dallas.
  • Hometown: Frisco, Texas
  • College: North Texas
  • Major championships: 2004 PGA Championship (MC).
  • Career accomplishments: Two top-25 finishes at the Professional National Championship (T-19 in 2008, 24th in 2004); won two Northern Texas PGA Assistant Championships (1994, ’95); 1995 Northern Texas PGA assistant player of the year.