PGA Professional Bob Sowards endures a rough finish, but seeing his name up in lights gives him a lifelong memory
It was difficult not to notice the giant leaderboard left of the 10th tee at Southern Hills Country Club mid-day Friday. Not only was Ohio PGA Professional Bob Sowards on the board as he started the second nine of his second round, he was leading the entire field at the 81st KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Sowards, a 15-time Southern Ohio PGA Player of the Year, four-time national PGA Professional Player of the Year and two-time Senior PGA Professional of the Year, ran off four more pars, keeping his card perfectly clean – and then things started going awry.
Sowards, 52, bogeyed the par-3 14th hole – his first bogey since the 16th hole a day earlier – and then made double bogeys from greenside bunkers at 15 and 16. At 15, he missed a 3-footer for bogey; one hole later, a poor bunker shot sent his ball careening into a back bunker. It was an unfortunate stretch. One more double at 18, and Sowards shot 75, leaving him at 2-over 142. He’ll have his chance to make up ground on the weekend.
“Well, I was playing well. I started missing fairways, so therefore it's hard to hit greens out of the rough,” Sowards said. “I think I hit bunkers the last five or six holes. And I thinned a couple, made double, and then I just gave away a lot of shots coming in. If I just made bogey on the holes, I'm not in bad shape. It's just a hard course if you start missing fairways.”
Sowards, who teaches at Kinsale Golf & Fitness in Powell, Ohio, has made 11 starts in the PGA Championship (one shy of tying the record). That mental picture he’ll have seeing that PGA leaderboard as he teed off on his second nine? He’ll have that forever.
“Yeah, the leaderboard walking down 10 looked pretty cool,” Sowards said.