Defending PGA Club Professional Champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio, made the cut for the first time in a PGA Tour event, at the Memorial Tournament. Yet, he still had one regret -- not being able to share the milestone with his father.
Chuck Sowards died last December.
"The only negative of the whole week was my dad wasn't here to share it with me and talk about every shot," Sowards said after his final-round 77 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Sowards, 36, is the new PGA Director of Golf at the Golf Center of Dublin, a practice center that is expanding into a premier learning facility. He was the first PGA Club Professional Champion to be invited to compete in the Memorial Tournament.
He earned the berth after writing tournament host and golf legend Jack Nicklaus last February.
"I went up to Mr. Nicklaus on the range and thanked him for allowing me to play in the tournament," said Sowards. "It was pretty cool. He knew all about my record and what I had done in the CPC.
"I was happy that I made the cut, but I wish I could have played a lot better. But, that's what happens when you don't play every week. You turn 68s into 73s.
"The players were extremely nice to me, and I had a lot of friends following me around the course. You have to hit the ball high at the Memorial, and I'm a low-ball hitter. I struggled, but I will never forget the experience."
Sowards was a PGA Assistant Professional at Muirfield Village from 1996-97. Nicklaus and Sowards played a practice round together before the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Sowards competed on the Nationwide Tour in 1998-99, and now works some 10 minutes from his former home course.
Sowards posted a 1-over par 73 each of the first two days of the Memorial, to hit the 146 cut line. He was 2-over in the third round and 5-over on Sunday for a 9-over 297, a total that left him wishing he could have done more in front of family and friends.
"I felt like I didn't take advantage of any opportunities I gave myself. Still, being able to play on the weekend means quite a bit to me," said Sowards, who earned $10,010 for his 79th place finish, out of 105 competitors in the field.
Sowards now sets his focus on defending his PGA Club Professional Championship, June 23-26, 2005, at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort.
"I heard about how the wind can blow at Kiawah Island," said Sowards. "And being a low ball hitter, maybe I can keep it in play, and see what happens. I'm looking forward to be coming back as defending Champion."
The 38th PGA Club Professional Championship is presented by Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra; Buick; Club Car; and Amstel Light. The Golf Channel is a media partner. The PGA Tour is a contributing partner. The Greg Norman Collection is the Official Golf Apparel of The PGA Club Professional Championship.
The PGA of America, founded in 1916, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf, while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.