KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – While Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele had been despatched packing from the 103rd PGA Championship, PGA instructing professionals Brad Marek (pictured above) and Ben Cook survived the 36-hole reduce at the Old Course at Kiawah Island Resort.
“First PGA Tour event, to make the cut on this golf course is pretty much a dream come true,” Marek stated.
The 37-year-old instructing professional from the Northern California PGA Section posted a 1-over 73 Friday and 2-over 146 for the championship (T-32). Cook, 27, PGA Director of Instruction at Yankee Springs Golf Course, Wayland, Michigan, was leaking oil on the closing stretch of the Pete Dye format, however managed to par the last two holes to make the reduce on the quantity (72-77—149) for the first time in three appearances.
“It’s been a cool week,” Cook stated. “I’m out here on the putting green hitting putts next to my heroes, and I have a great support team here. I feel very blessed.”
Marek, who performed faculty golf at Indiana, competed professionally for 9 years on a wide range of excursions, successful 15 occasions in that span, together with a few occasions on the Dakotas Tour.
“I chased mini-tours nine or 10 years after college, always with the goal of trying to get out here. Obviously didn’t attain that via the regular route, but as soon as I was done playing, I knew I wanted to be a part of the PGA for the opportunities like this on the playing side,” he stated.
Marek, who tied for eighth at his first PGA Professional Championship to earn a spot on this week’s area, runs his personal junior golf academy out of Corica Park in Alameda, Calif., for gamers with aspirations of taking part in faculty golf.
“Everybody in that has a goal of trying to move up to the next level in terms of their golf,” he stated.
What might present larger inspiration to his college students than to see their coach holding his personal with the greatest gamers on the planet on certainly one of the hardest programs on the planet. Marek opened with 73 on Thursday, and started his second spherical with two birdies, together with rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe at No. 10. The course toughened starting at 14 when the wind flipped into his face.
“You just know for the next nine holes, you’re just holding on, trying to keep your head above water and hopefully get a little bit of reprieve 6 through 9,” he stated.
He made a “miracle bogey” on 18, and then pitched in at 2 for birdie.
Said Marek, who ranks second in Strokes Gained: Around the inexperienced via two rounds: “It was a really good shot but did not expect that to go in.”
Nor did he count on to empty a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 9, his last gap of the day. (He ranks ninth in SG: Putting.)
“It was getting really dark, and I was just trying to get it out there and just dribble it down the hill so I had a kick-in,” he stated, “and I still can’t believe that thing went in.”
Speaking as a lot for Cook as for himself, Marek defined why it was necessary for two of the 20 club professionals in the area to make the reduce.
“Any time one of us can make the cut, I think it’s really good for,” Marek stated. “I think there used to be 25 spots in this and it got reduced to 20, so I feel like any time a couple of us can make the cut and represent the PGA well, I think that bodes well for the organization as a whole and just kind of shows the type of players that are at the top level of the PGA of America.”