Three Quick Inspiring Stories from Harbor Shores
PGA PROFESSIONAL BOB SOWARDS KEEPS ON INSPIRING
Bob Sowards, PGA Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio, watched last week’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills with extra interest. A year earlier, when the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was staged on that historic golf course, Sowards tied for fifth.
So when players were hitting certain shots in last week’s PGA, or got into a bad spot, Sowards knew right away what they’d be facing. His finish at Southern Hills filled him with confidence and reaffirmed to him that his game travels very nicely. His finish was inspiring for other PGA Professionals to see, too.
“I heard a lot of good things. I compete against a lot of these guys nationally down in Florida and at the Club Pro and on a Section level,” said Sowards, who is 53.
Ah, one good source of inspiration begets another, right?
“Yeah, I mean, I know having Rob Labritz make it through (PGA Tour Champions) Q-School gave me a lot of confidence that hopefully I can get through Q-School one day,” Sowards said.
Sowards is a 15-time Southern Ohio PGA Player of the Year and 12-time Ohio PGA Section champion. He played the PGA Tour in 2008 and spent three seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour. Sowards followed up his opening 68 on Thursday by shooting 74 on Friday, and at even-par 142, will play on the weekend.
AROUND THE WORLD WITH MONTY
You know that Johnny Cash song, “I’ve Been Everywhere” – (I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere ...). Well, Colin Montgomerie has pretty much been – and won – everywhere, too.
Singapore, Sweden, France, Morocco, Hong Kong, Dubai, Macau, Ireland, the Republic of China ... those are just a few of the places where he has won. Montgomerie always was knocked for not winning in the United States until he captured the 2014 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship here at Harbor Shores in 2014. But in 1997, he did win the unofficial Andersen Consulting Match Play in Wisconsin, where he defeated Davis Love III, 2 up, in the final.
Earlier this week at Harbor Shores, Montgomerie was asked to name the most remote place he has won.
“Very good. I won the 72-hole Golf Challenge in a day in a place called Skelleftea,” he said. “Not many people have won a golf tournament in the Arctic Circle, so that was good. Seventy-holes in a day. I was knackered. My last tee time was 2 o’clock in the morning and it was June the 21st obviously, mid-summer’s day in Sweden and the Arctic Circle doesn’t get dark. That’s up there. That’s remote.”
ROB LABRITZ, PGA, REPRESENTS TWO WORLDS THIS WEEK
Having medaled at the 2021 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying School to earn a full-time Tour card, Rob Labritz promised to keep a smile on his face throughout the season, and so far, so good.
The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship marks Labritz’s ninth start of the season on the Champions Tour, with a recent tie for fifth at the Rapiscan Systems Classic his top showing.
Before he went to Qualifying School in December, though, the longtime PGA Professional from GlenArbor Golf Club (Bedford Hills, N.Y.) had earned a spot in the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship by finishing sixth at the Senior PGA Professional Championship in Florida. He wasn’t happy with the sixth-place showing at the time; the top five earned exemptions into the Q-School Finals, and he had to go to a Second Stage qualifier. It turned out to be a blessing.
So at Harbor Shores, Labritz, 50, is wearing two hats. One as a PGA Tour Champions player, the other as a PGA Professional.
“That's the great part, because I still represent the 30,000 PGA members. I'll always represent them,” Labritz said on Thursday. “I'm a PGA Member at heart and it's great to know some of the guys on the Champions Tour now.
I got to know a bunch of them, getting more comfortable out there. Played a lot of rounds with them. It's good to be -- to know everybody now and not feel super uncomfortable I feel very comfortable out here.”