PGA Pro Block Paired with McIlroy on Sunday
PGA Professional Michael Block has proved he belongs on the big stage with a third straight even-par 70 to tie for eighth place at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Block, 46, will be paired with two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy who sits at 1 under par through 54 holes. Block, however, was already paired with a superstar on Saturday, playing well while alongside Justin Rose.
“I didn't look at Rosey's face for the first three holes because I'm a big fan of Rosey and I've watched him my whole life, and I knew it could get a little too intimidating, the fact that, holy crap, I'm sitting here playing with Justin Rose, and that might get too big for me, so I literally just kind of looked down, looked at his shoes the first couple holes, and got off to a decent start and went on from there,” Block said.
This has been quite a week for the Head Club Professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif. The last PGA Pro to be among the top 10 after 54 holes of a PGA Championship was Bob Boyd in 1990 at Shoal Creek Club in Birmingham, Ala. He finished in a tie for 19th place.
Despite the bright lights and Block’s proximity to the top of the leaderboard, he refuses to get wrapped up in the moment and see who is ahead of him.
“I love Rosey but I can compete against these guys, to be honest. I can compete against them,” he said. “I can hang. I can post a 3- or 4-under tomorrow, especially if I get the fairways rolling again.”
Although Block maintains an even-keeled attitude, he can still bask in playing in front of a raucous crowd at one of the biggest championships of the year.
“I told my caddie if I make this putt on 18, this is going to be the closest thing I'm ever going to get to hitting like a Game 7 home run,” Block said. “It would have been an experience unlike any experience I've ever had in my life, but the coolest thing about it was I still had that feeling and moment even without making it, which is even cooler.”
Block and McIlroy will tee off Sunday at 2 p.m. EDT, the fourth-to-last pair to begin the fourth and final round. They will both attempt to chase down leader Brooks Koepka, who sits at 6 under and is in sole possession of first place.