Ryan Polzin is going to tee it up with the big boys.
The former Sam Houston Bearkat golfer and head pro at Raven Nest Golf Club will play at the PGA Championship Aug. 5-11 against Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and about 100 of the world’s top golfers.
The tournament will be played on the famous Oak Hill Country Club East Course in Rochester, NY.
Polzin earned his spot in the PGA after shooting another solid score last week in the final round of the PGA Professional National Championship.
With a 72-hole total of 280, Polzin finished second to Rod Perry of York, Pa., which means he’s going to play in golf’s final major tournament of 2013, the PGA Championship, scheduled Aug. 8-11 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
The performance also earned Polzin an additional honor.
He will be one of 12 PGA professionals representing the United States in the 26th PGA Cup matches Sept. 20-22. The matches are a bi-annual event structured after the format of the Ryder Cup.
The event features competition between the USA and professionals from Great Britain and Ireland.
An All-Southland golfer for the Bearkats in 2000 through 2002, Polzin birdied the 17th hole at the Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore., on Wednesday to pull within one of the lead with one hole to play. At the 18th, however, he lost his tee ball in a hazard, took a drop and made a double bogey.
If Polzin, 33, was disappointed, it was hard to tell following the final round. This was his third Professional National Championship start, and the first where he made the cut.
With scores of 72, 67, 70 and 71, Polzin finished alone in second place.
“After the birdie on No. 17, I felt like I’d have a chance,” Polzin told reporters in Oregon. “I got up there on No. 18 tee where I’d hit driver every day just fine and I just got quick. The emotions got to me a little bit. I yanked it left and ended up with a double bogey.
“I’m not going to let that bring me down, though,” added Polzin, currently the head pro at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club. “It was a magical week for me. I just cashed the biggest check of my career, I made the PGA and I gave myself a chance. I was tied for the lead after 63 holes. What more can you ask for?”
Polzin played brilliantly for four days. Three birdies on the front nine Wednesday had him tied for the lead, but he suffered a pair of bogeys early on the back side, then recovered with birdies on the par-5 16th hole and the par-3 17th. His errant tee shot on No. 18 cost him a chance to engrave his name on the Walter Hagen Cup.
Still, he accomplished what he went to Oregon to do: finish in the top 20 and earn a spot in the PGA Championship. The performance highlighted a year that also saw Polzin inducted into the Sam Houston Lettermen’s Hall of Honor last winter.