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This is Awesome - A View From the Peoples Pro

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C'mon, you know you can relate to these guys. They are YOUR professionals afterall. Guys like Rob Labritz from Glen Arbor Golf Club in New York, or Dave Tentis from the Mississippi Dunes Golf Links in Cottage Grove, Minn.

Or Barry Evans, the reigning Club Professional Champion who hails from Charleston, W.V. These guys are among 25 club professionals teeing it up this week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. This week they get the same perks as Tiger Woods or Ernie Els, or even Phillip Price. And they should. History states it's their championship.

Twenty-five qualifiers from June's national Club Professional Championship in Louisville, Ky. qualified for this week's final major. From Valhalla Golf Club to Hazeltine they've come.
 
'I made that 7-footer in the playoff to get here,' said PGA Championship first-timer Joe Klinchock of Pittsburgh, PA. 'I told (fellow club professional) Sean Farren that If I'd known this is what I'd be seeing, I'd have three-putted the hole.'
 
'This is awesome. Unbelievable!' said another first-timer, Tim Weinhart of River Pines Golf Club in Alpharretta, Ga. 'This is what I've worked for, to play with these guys.'
 
And Thursday they will tee it up for real. Twenty-five club professionals who might otherwise be running member-guest tournaments at their home club, get to try and beat Tiger. 'I haven't seen Tiger hit any balls yet,' said Weinhart, who just happened to be stationed in what he figured to be the best spot on the practice range on Wednesday. 'Come Thursday I'm just going to try and take care of Tim's business and hope to play well and make the cut.'
 
Barry Evans won the Club Professional Championship at Valhalla in his first appearance. Now he's competing at his first PGA Championship and he has some work to do. No reigning CPC title-holder has made the cut at the PGA since 1982 when the late Larry Gilbert hung around for the weekend.
 
You can't help but root for these guys. Hard workers who've earned the chance to take a week off from the daily grind of pro-shop or lesson-tee work to battle the best.
 
Eleven of the 25 have qualified for the first time. Good luck guys. The game appreciates you!

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