Golf Tips Top 25 Instructor Rob Labritz has done it again.
On May 1, the Director of Golf at Glenarbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, New York qualified for the 2019 PGA Championship for the sixth time in 17 years, finishing in the top 10 at the PGA Professional Championship at Belfair Country Club in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Labritz and 19 other qualifiers emerged from a field of more than 300 fellow PGA Professionals from 45 states. Now they will tee it up alongside the world’s best PGA Tour players at Bethpage Black in Farmington Hills, New York, May 16-19.
Labritz has won three New York State championships at Bethpage and played 69 competitive rounds there to date, so he knows the course well.
“It’s literally in my backyard, a 45-minute drive or a 15-minute helicopter ride from our club,” he told Golf Tips. “I’m just going to lean on my experience of being there. I’m a good ball striker, I’ve cleaned up my short game a lot. My game plan is to just stay fresh, and be ready to go on Thursday.”
Alex Beach, a 29-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York finished in first place and will make his second PGA Championship appearance after his debut in 2017.
Labritz, Beach and three other qualifiers will represent the Metropolitan PGA Section, which counts Bethpage Black as one of its Section facilities.
Joining Labritz as six-time PGA Championship qualifiers are Rod Perry of Port Orange, Florida, and Danny Balin of Irvington, New York.
Six players competed in a playoff for the final two spots. Andrew Filbert of Naples, Florida, emerged with a birdie on the first playoff hole, while Tyler Hall of Scottsdale, Arizona, secured the final spot with a birdie on the third extra hole.
Labritz made the top 10 despite a final round 73, finishing even par over four rounds, two each on Belfair’s East Course (Par 71) and West Course (Par 72), both designed by Tom Fazio. He opened with rounds of 71, 72 and 71.
Nine players will make their PGA Championship debut, while six players will return to the PGA Championship after competing last year.
Labritz, who was low club pro at the 2010 PGA Championship, is one of several Golf Tips Top 25 Instructors who have competed at the highest professional and amateur levels over the years:
- Dale Abraham qualified for the PGA Professional Championship five times.
- Mike Diffley, another Met PGA member, qualified for five USGA championships.
- Vickie Goetze-Ackerman won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1989 and 1992, the NCAA Women’s Championship in 1992 and competed on the LPGA Tour from 1994 to 2008.
- Gail Graham won the 1997 LPGA Australian Masters, is a 16-year LPGA Tour veteran and is a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
- Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour player and current LPGA Legends Tour player.
- Tom Patri won the 1981 Div. II NCAA Championship (Florida Southern University)
- Jim Roy played on both the PGA and PGA Champions tours and was 1981 New York State Amateur Champion.
- Tina Tombs won an LPGA Tour event in 1990 and is a two-time NCAA All-American.
Golf Tips will feature a full interview with Rob Labritz during PGA Championship week. Follow him @roblabritzgolf.