Matt Dobyns leads PGA Professional
SEASIDE, Calif. -- Matt Dobyns had a hole-in-one and holed out for eagle from a greenside bunker on the final hole Tuesday to increase his lead to six strokes in the PGA Professional National Championship.
The 34-year-old Dobyns, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., had a 3-under 69 on the Bayonet course to reach 11-under 205.
On the 200-yard 14th hole, his 7-iron shot bounced off the right fringe and tracked to the hole for his eighth career ace.
"First of all, an ace is not about skill, it's about luck," said Dobyns, who won a golf cart from tournament sponsor Club Car. "I'm just trying to keep the ball on the green, and the ball bounces, and it goes into the hole. Sometime it looks like it's going to go in, and it doesn't, and this particular one did.
"I didn't see it at all, and then I saw people waving their arms around and they said I won a golf cart. I don't know how I'm going to get that back to New York."
After a bogey on No. 15 and pars on 16 and 17, he holed the bunker shot on the par-5 18th for the finishing eagle.
"I faced a bunker shot similar to that on the practice area, and I didn't feel too badly about it," Dobyns said. "I wasn't uncomfortable there. If the ball doesn't go in, it's about 10 feet past. But the ball hit the pin dead center."
The former University of Texas player shot a 68 at Black Horse on Sunday, and took a three-stroke lead Monday with a 68 at Bayonet, also the site of the final round.
"Every round I've had the same prerogative," said Dobyns, the 2011 Long Island Open winner. "I'm trying to make pars. It's not a golf course where you can go out and shoot 64. You try to start out and try to make pars. That's what I plan to do tomorrow. We'll see what happens. I feel comfortable out here and I hope that I don't feel too uncomfortable tomorrow."
The top 20 will earn spots in the PGA Championship in August at Kiawah Island. The winner also will receive $75,000 and six PGA Tour exemptions over a 12-month period.
First-round leader Mike Small, the University of Illinois coach who won the event in 2005, '09 and '10, was second after a 72. Kelly Mitchum, a PGA assistant professional at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, was another stroke back at 4 under after a 72.
Small cut Dobyns' lead to two shots midway through the round before slipping back.
"You can't play defense in golf. He played great, made great shots and deserved to have a good round," Small said. "I know I have to hit the ball better. Matt's going to have to help us out a little bit, but he sure is playing well right now."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press