Paeglow eager to get his best PNC finish

HERSHEY, Pa. – Maybe the 65 that David Paeglow shot in the first round of last year’s PGA Professional National Championship was exactly what he didn’t need.

“That was outstanding,” Paeglow said last year’s opener after an even-par 71 on Tuesday put him in contention for a coveted top-20 finish at the 44th PNC at Hershey Country Club. “But I didn’t finish up that well.

“I’m more comfortable this year. I think it’s because I’m not near the lead. I’m a little more back in the pack. I feel like I can play my game and it’s not like I have to do something.”

photo

David Paeglow

Following Wednesday’s final round, the top 20 finishers earn spots in August’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

Through 54 holes, Paeglow’s 2-under-par 212 is just one stroke short of the number needed to sneak inside the top 10.

“I’ll be nervous, but I don’t think any more than I normally would be in the final round of a tournament,” said Paeglow, the head professional at Kishwaukee Country Club in Dekalb, Ill. “I’m just having fun. My brother’s here caddieing for me, my parents are here watching and I’m just having a good time.”

But still, there’s potentially a lot on the line Wednesday, which hasn’t been the case in any of Paeglow’s five previous PNCs, a disappointing résumé in which he’s missed the cut three times and tied for 66th twice.

“I probably won’t do a lot of scoreboard watching,” he said, “but I guess I’ll see where I stand after today. It looks like I’ll probably be a couple of shots off that top 20 mark. But I think it could be in my sights tomorrow.”

With a new shaft in his driver and some good feedback from his California-based instructor, Paeglow wasn’t short of confidence when he headed to Hershey, and his solid play has been up to matching his optimistic mental outlook. He missed only two fairways in Round 2, and on Tuesday he missed five greens but got up-and-down for par four times.

“I just played pretty steady golf,” he said. “I hit a lot of greens, made a long putt, about 35 feet, that just trickled in on the right edge at No. 3, then got up-and-down a few times. Those kept the round going.

“My driver’s been fantastic,” he continued, “but I do need to make a few more putts. These guys make a lot of putts and I’m not making enough.”

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