Oswego Lake golf pro qualifies for PGA Championship
It's about to be a very busy month for Scott Erdmann. The golf professional at Oswego Lake Country Club's calendar just filled up in a hurry and his appointments don't involve trying to fix anyone's slice.
Erdmann recently became one of just 20 golf pros in the country to qualify for the last major of the PGA season, August's PGA Championship.
Erdmann has been a golf pro at a number of Oregon courses, including Pumpkin Ridge and Quail Valley before landing at Oswego Lake six years ago.
In that time, Erdmann has competed in the annual regional tournaments, attempting to make the national tournament where berths in the PGA Championship are on the line.
"My first goal was just to go to nationals. I'd been close a couple of times but never was able to break through," Erdmann said.
Erdmann competed in the Northwest regional, held this year in Montana and played exceptionally well.
The Northwest region is traditionally one of the toughest in the country and just seven players from the region advanced to nationals.
Erdmann was one of them, taking second in the tournament, earning a spot in the 312-man tournament, held this year in Hershey, Pa.
Having reached his first goal of making the tournament, Erdmann then set his sights a little higher.
"At that point I just wanted to play all four days," he said.
Heading into the tournament, Erdmann wasn't particularly confident in his swing as he had been inconsistent in recent rounds.
But everything came together in Pennsylvania,
"From the moment I got out of the car everything was clicking. All three practice rounds were really solid. Golf is a fickle game. Sometimes your timing is just on," Erdmann said.
He got off to a stellar start, firing a round of 65 on the first day of competition, propelling him to the top of the leaderboard and he knew what he was in position to accomplish.
"After the first day I acknowledged it a little. It's hard not to recognize it because that's what everybody is there for but when you're playing, you try not to think about it as much as possible," Erdmann said.
He followed his first round with a bogey-free round of 68 on the second day and then shot 69 for his third round.
Erdmann was now not only in position to qualify for the PGA Championship, he was in position to win the entire event.
He bogeyed three of his first four holes on the final day of competition but played the rest of his round two-under par, finishing in a three-way tie for first place.
He would be bested in a playoff, finishing tied for second which was more than enough to punch his ticket to the Atlanta Athletic Club in August for this year's final major.
"It's all gravy right now. There's certainly no pressure on me. I'm going to get down there as early as I can and just enjoy the experience," Erdmann said.
It will be a completely new experience for Erdmann. Not only will he be playing alongside some of the country's best professionals, he will also likely be playing in hot and humid weather, on different grass than he is accustomed to and on an exceptionally long course.
The tournament will be held August 11 through 14.
Then, just weeks later, Erdmann will be competing in the PGA Cup Sept. 12-19 in California. With his showing at nationals, he also qualified for this tournament, a Ryder Cup-style event which pits the United States' best golf pros against the best from Europe.
"In some ways that tournament is just as much of an honor as making the PGA Championship if not more so," Erdmann said.
Since qualifying for the PGA Championship, Erdmann has been somewhat of a celebrity around Oswego Lake Country Club.
"It's been unbelievable. We have a very supportive club and I don't think I've passed by a member who hasn't stopped me and said something," Erdmann said.
Erdmann has less than a month to fine tune his game for the biggest test of his golf career and the opportunity of a lifetime.