Tag Archive | "Rob Corcoran"

A Major Accomplishment for Poxabogue Pro

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Rob Corcoran (far left), a club pro at the Poxabogue Golf Center, played a practice round before last week's PGA Championship with former major champion Jim Furyk (far right). Also picture are Corcoran's caddie, Rob Sullivan (second from left) and Furyk's caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan.

Rob Corcoran (far left), a club pro at the Poxabogue Golf Center, played a practice round before last week’s PGA Championship with former major champion Jim Furyk (far right). Also picture are Corcoran’s caddie, Rob Sullivan (second from left) and Furyk’s caddie Mike “Fluff” Cowan.

By Gavin Menu

It was back to pitching and putting at the Poxabogue Golf Center Tuesday afternoon, teaching children how to hit driver and tracking the flights of his students’ iron shots. To the casual observer, it would be hard to tell that club pro Rob Corcoran had just come off the highlight of his golfing career.

Corcoran, who winters in Florida but returns every summer to teach at Poxabogue in Sagaponack, qualified as part of the field for last week’s 96th PGA Championship, professional golf’s fourth and final major tournament of the year, which was played at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Corcoran shot rounds of 76 and 77 (+11) to open the tournament, failing to make the weekend cut. Rory McIlroy, the number-one player in the world, won the tournament with a score of 16-under after sinking a par putt on the 18th green in darkness late Sunday.

Regardless of missing the weekend cut, Corcoran said it was the best week of his life and certainly the highlight of his playing career to be inside the ropes alongside players like McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who also missed the cut at Valhalla.

“I wished that I played a little bit better, but as far as the experience went, it was  incredible and such an eye-opening experience,” Corcoran said after arriving back in East Hampton. “All and all there was not one negative I left there with.”

Every year, the PGA welcomes 20 club professionals as part of the major championship field. Corcoran, 38, posted an impressive 12th place finish at the PGA Professional National Championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in June to qualify for last week’s tournament, which was his first appearance on the PGA Tour.

His June finish in South Carolina also earned Corcoran an automatic berth in next year’s National Club Pro, which will be played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club next June, where another 20 pros will earn the right to play in golf’s fourth major.

“That’s the goal next year, to get back to the PGA,” Corcoran said. “I’m trying to stay diligent in training my body to stay fit and to stay strong. And use this experience to get better going forward.”

At Valhalla, Corcoran played four practice rounds of nine holes each leading into the tournament, playing the last practice round with Jim Furyk, a long-time pro and winner of the 2003 U.S. Open. Corcoran said Furyk’s father is also a club pro, and understands how demanding it is to balance work with competition and also how hard it is to reach the highest levels of golf as a working professional.

“We were out there for probably three hours for nine holes,” Corcoran said about his round with Furyk. “For me, it couldn’t have worked out any better. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy.”

What Corcoran discovered playing the PGA at Valhalla was that the course was 400 to 600 yards longer than most tournaments he plays. As a result, what would normally be a 7-iron to the green turns into a 4- or 5-iron, shots that are much more difficult to control.

“What I took from the week is golf is becoming a long hitter’s sport,” Corcoran said. “Even though there are a few guys like Jim Furyk who are able to manage these difficult golf courses, the long hitters are at a huge advantage.”

As he got back to teaching on Wednesday, Corcoran said the experience will likely make him an improved instructor. He said he has drawn a tremendous amount of energy from spending a week with the greatest golfers in the world.

“I’m more energetic to practice my game, I’m more energetic to teach golf lessons,” Corcoran said. “When you’re chipping balls 10 feet from Tiger and 15 feet from Phil, and you’re watching their techniques up close, that’s pretty good stuff.”

Rob Corcoran, left, with Phil Mickelson at last week's PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

Rob Corcoran ( left) with Phil Mickelson at last week’s PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

Poxabogue Pro To Play PGA Championship

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Rob Corcoran, a club pro at Poxabogue, has qualified for the 96th PGA Championship next month in Kentucky.

Rob Corcoran, a club pro at Poxabogue, has qualified for the 96th PGA Championship next month in Kentucky.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller

Little old Poxabogue Golf Club in Sagaponack will soon be represented on one of the biggest stages in all of golf.

Rob Corcoran, an assistant club pro at Poxabogue, has qualified for the 96th PGA Championship, to be played at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, from August 7 to 10.

Corcoran, 38,  will make his major golf debut after an impressive 12th place finish at the PGA Professional National Championship at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, last month. In the fourth and final round on June 25, Corcoran shot an even-par round of 72, including a score of two-under on the back nine, to remain at 4-over (292) for the tournament.

Of the 312 club professionals who began the week in Myrtle Beach, only 20 advanced to play in next month’s showcase event for the PGA.

“This will be my first major,” said Corcoran, who spends his winters playing and teaching in Melbourne, Florida. “I wish I had got into a few more, but it’s tough.”

Corcoran qualified for last week’s National Club Pro, as it’s often referred to, with his second-place finish in last July’s Metropolitan PGA Professional Championship at the Rockland Country Club in Rockland County. During that tournament, Corcoran shot a second round score of 61, which set a new course record at the time.

After working for the summer at Poxabogue, he returned to Florida over the winter and spent the last six months preparing for last week’s tournament, studying the greens at The Dunes Golf Club online and working on his game so that it fit to that particular course. The result of his hard work will be his first-ever appearance on the PGA tour, and in a major nonetheless.

“I’m very comfortable with my golf game right now,” said Corcoran, who entered the back nine at The Dunes outside the top-20. “I had some stretches of brilliance, and some stretches of driving the ball into the trees and three putts. I was a riding a rollercoaster all week. But I played my last 11 holes of the tournament at three-under par. “

Corcoran made two huge par saves on 10 and 11, then birdied 12 and 13 to put himself back into position to qualify for the PGA Championship, the only major men’s tournament to reserve a large number of spots for club professionals, with 20 spots in 156-player field set aside.

“After those two birdies, I stepped up to the 14th tee box and I had a calm that came over my body,” Corcoran said. “I thought to myself, ‘whatever happens from here to the clubhouse, I’ve already proven I’ve had a really good tournament and I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t finish well.’ I just played golf.”

Corcoran pared the last five holes of a very difficult golf course to stamp his ticket to Valhalla this August.

“The big deal is to go down there and make the cut,” said Corcoran, tempering his expectations as he plans to leave the East End for Kentucky on Saturday, August 2. “My plan is to play practice rounds with guys who have similar games to mine. I’ll see how they manage it and just pick their brains and be a fly on the wall inside the ropes.”