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Benzel stalks lead at PGA Professional National tourney

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on June 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm with No Comments »
June 29, 2010 10:02 am

Because Seattle’s Ryan Benzel has been on top, right behind and a fixture on the first page of the scoreboard at the PGA Professional National Championships the past half-decade, PGA of America officials asked him to attend the tournament’s media day in April.

And he came up with one conclusion about the French Lick Resort in Indiana: The winner could be over-par.

At the midway point of the 43rd national club professional tournament, not many of the 312 players are.

Benzel is one of the few, and after his 2-under-par 70 at the Pete Dye Course on Friday, he sits tied for third after two rounds – one stroke behind co-leaders Rob Moss and Sonny Skinner.

The final two rounds will be played at the Pete Dye Course.

“On this course,” Benzel said, “par means a lot.”

The former University of Idaho standout might have sidestepped a big number, too, Friday, at the par-3 16th when his tee shot hit the apron on the left front of the green and disappeared.

Benzel found that his ball had gone over a concrete rock wall, but stopped on the only patch of grass in the hazard.

So, he went down there and scooped it out – and ended up making bogey.

“I don’t know how that ball got down there. The way that shot sounded, it sounded like it hit the green. I was convinced it hit grass and bounced to the right and dribbled off onto the rocks,” Benzel said.

“I got a little lucky on that. … I got the club on it easy. The only question was if I could give myself a stance. I … put one foot on the rock, other one down low – sit on my knee, and I was perfectly level.”

On the next hole, Benzel ripped a 6-iron approach to the middle of the green, and sank a 16-foot birdie putt to rebound.

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