0

Albany’s Skinner qualifies for PGA Championship

River Pointe Golf Club pro Sonny Skinner is one of 20 club pros who will compete in next month’s PGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y.

River Pointe Golf Club pro Sonny Skinner is one of 20 club pros who will compete in next month’s PGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y.

BEND, Ore. — Albany’s Sonny Skinner exploded into headlines just over a month ago with a career-best performance at the Senior PGA Championship, which included a chip-in eagle that made national highlight reels and a 35th-place finish.

Now he is headed back to the national stage.

The River Pointe Golf Club pro finished tied for ninth in last week’s PGA Professional National Championship and picked up one of 20 invitations to next month’s 95th PGA Championship.

It’s the third time Skinner, the three-time Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year, has qualified for the PGA Championship and first since 2010.

“I expect to be playing better for the tournament,” said Skinner, who finished at 1-under in the PGA Professional National Championship, which was held at Sunriver Resort in Bend, Ore. “There won’t be many in the PGA Championship older than me, but I hope to be playing good.”

Skinner, 52, will play alongside the world’s top golfers in the PGA Tour’s fourth and final major championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., Aug. 5-11.

It’s a course he has played before, and he understands the challenge he is up against.

“Realistically, if I can make the cut then I think I will have had an exceptional week,” said Skinner, who didn’t make the cut in his other two appearances in the PGA Championship. “Even though it’s not a really long golf course, it didn’t yield really low scores when they had major championships there in the past. It’s challenging. It will test every aspect of your game. I love the challenge, and I will be ready to play.”

Skinner shot an opening-round 67 at the PGA Professional National Championship and entered the second round in third place, but a 3-over 75 on Day 2 dropped him down the leaderboard. He closed the tournament with rounds of 71 and 73 to finish tied for ninth with four other club pros.

Rod Perry won the tournament with an overall score of 10-under.