Philo wins playoff for PGA Championship berth

Will the seventh time be the charm for Ron Philo Jr.?

The Scotia native qualified for his seventh PGA Championship trip by winning last month's PGA National Professional Championship at Turning Stone.

I'm excited about getting another chance there, said Philo, who is the head pro at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains.

Philo came from behind on the final day of the four-day tournament to pull out the victory. He trailed leader Alan Schulte by three strokes, but shot a 4-under-par 68 to pull even with Schulte and force a playoff. The two remained locked in a tie until the third playoff hole, when Philo sank a bogey putt to finish the comeback.

Philo said his familiarity with the two courses at Turning Stone used for the tournament helped him.

"We had a regional competition (at Turning Stone) three years ago, and I finished in a tie and lost in a playoff," he said.

Philo started the tournament well by sinking birdies on his first four holes. He ran into some trouble on the third day with a double bogey on the 15th hole and bogeys on 16 and 18 to fall back to 1-under for the tournament, but a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole on the final day got him back into contention.

"Outside of that one stumble (on the third day), I was pretty solid the whole time," said Philo.

The victory earned Philo $75,000 to go along with his berths in the PGA Championship next month at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago and the PGA Cup in September.

Medinah poses a unique challenge to Philo and the rest of the PGA Championship field. The course was lengthened to 7,561 yards, the longest ever for a major tournament. And that's only one factor the golfers will have to contend with.

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