Sylvester resident and Albany golf pro Sonny Skinner will tee it up with the world's most elite field of
golfers today when the season's last major -- the PGA Championship -- begins at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis. Skinner will be making just his second career appearance at the prestigious PGA Tour stop.
KOHLER, Wis. -- This wasn't the way Sonny Skinner wanted his experience at the PGA Championship to end.
The teaching professional at River Pointe Golf Club failed to make the cut at Whistling Straits. More disappointing was the way it happened. After shooting a 1-over 73 in the first round, Skinner tacked on a 78 when he completed his second round Saturday morning, leaving him at 7 over 151, six shots above the cut line.
"I felt I could play this golf course," Skinner said. "I just didn't hit it as well as I could. I didn't play as well as I did the first day."
Skinner was able to play only three holes of his second round Friday because of a fog delay and parred all three. He left the course Friday evening at 1 over and in contention to make the cut. But he never got anything going Saturday morning, struggling from the outset. He made a double bogey on his first hole, the 13th, and bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 to post 40 on his first nine.
"I didn't think we would play at all (Friday)," he said. "I thought a storm was coming in, but we came out and just to tee off at 6:30, that's a little late. Even when I'm at home at the club, I usually don't play at 6:30. But I can't say that it affected me a whole lot. I just made some misjudgments with my club selection and hit some errant shots and just didn't play as solid as I did the first day."
Skinner tried to turn things around on the back nine but he missed an eight-foot birdie putt at No. 1, then birdied No. 3 after hitting a 6-iron to within two feet. He gave that back with a bogey at No. 4 after leaving his approach shot 10 yards short of the green. Skinner came back to birdie No. 5, which still left him far from making the cut.
"I hate to say it, but when you get to the point where you realize you might not make the cut, you can lose your focus," Skinner said.
And Skinner appeared to. He wound up with bogeys on the final three holes.
Overall, he blamed his poor performance on the final day on an inability to make a putt. The greens never got fast and Skinner never made the proper adjustment.
"Didn't hit the ball well, didn't get a real feel for the speed of the greens," he said. "There wasn't a whole lot of good on it, really. I've got to hit the ball really well in order to control those long utilities and I just wasn't doing it. I left myself a lot of long putts and then at the end I missed three short ones there, little tap-in par putts."
Despite his less-than-satisfactory finish, Skinner enjoyed the experience at his second PGA Championship. He also missed the cut at his first try in 2008.
"The overall experience is tremendous," he said. "Just to have the opportunity to come here and play on this golf course with the quality of players that are in the field, it's a great experience.
"We take tremendous pride in being PGA members and promoting the game, and playing is a big part of the game and I love to do that. So, for me, it's a wonderful experience."
Now Skinner's focus returns to Georgia, where he will defend his title at the Georgia PGA Section Championship later this month at Sea Island.