Rob Labritz’s Cinderella story just keeps getting better and better.
labritz, a 51-year-old old club pro who qualified for the PGA Tour Champions this December season, shot his third straight 2-under 69 on Saturday at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, trailing only leader Padraig Harrington to enter the final round of 42nd US Seniors Open.
“I’m in the best place I’ve ever wanted to be,” he told NBC after the round. “I’m living the dream and there are spots on my leg from pinching myself.”
This is only his second USGA event and the first since 1988, and Labritz, who has been a club pro since he was 19 and wears an assortment of hats in his day job who left little time to focus on his own game , let it all be absorbed .
“I have to be honest, the adrenaline rush on the 1st tee and the last putt was nothing like I’ve ever felt before in my life,” said the father of three who brought 17-month-old daughter Logan to his post. round press conference. “I had to pull the putt back. I had Baby Shark on my mind. There was a lot going on. I just had to get the putt in the hole.”
Whatever happens on the final round—he’s five strokes behind three-time major winner Harrington and former US Senior Open champion Gene Sauers—Labritz is sucking it all up like few before him have.
“It’s so cool. I want to make sure I’m taking mental notes, and now that we have iPhones, I can actually make videos,” said Labritz, who broke his phone and recorded the scene† “The fans saw me take the phone out and go after it, which was pretty cool. I wasn’t expecting that, but it was pretty cool.”
At a time when the professional golf world seems to be spinning and being more about playing for outrageous sums of money than love for the game, Labritz was a breath of fresh air.
Labritz, who served as golf director at GlenArbor in Bedford Hills, New York, prior to medaling at Q-School in December, birdies at numbers 15 and 16 to reach his 6-under total and is the only player in the game. field to post a trio of rounds in the 60s.
“I’m not worried about it,” Labritz said of his last lap deficit. “I go out and play my game, shoot below par, and where the chips fall, they fall. There are guys here who have been doing this for 30 years. If they play better than me, so be it. I am studying. I’m getting better. I am improving. I feel like I’m so close.”
Labritz has racked up a top-five finish and three top-25 finishes in 11 PGA Tour Champions starts, entering Week 48 on the cash list with a profit of $168,353.
He will play in the final round with four-time Major Ernie Els. For Labritz, he will not be the one to be pressured as he has already exceeded his expectation for the week, win or lose.
“Man, it just means all the work I’ve done over the years is paying off. I feel comfortable there. I know I’m supposed to be here,” he said. “Even when I was at my best club course in the world, Glen Arbor, I still felt like something was missing, and I don’t have that feeling anymore. So I am a blessed man.”
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