By DR. DAVID DAVIS
For the avid golfer, playing in a PGA event would be a dream come true, though most part-time golfers don’t have the skill to compete against the best golfers in the world.
But in the case of Pearland’s Casey Russell, PGA Pro at Golfcrest Country Club, his next stop will be, not just playing in a PGA event, but he will tee it up in one of golf’s major tournaments, the prestigious PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black Course in Farmingdale, NY.
The best of the best will be playing in this event which includes Tiger Woods who won the first major tournament of the 2019 golf season at The Masters in April. Woods will be playing to keep his hopes alive to win the grand slam this year which would be the PGA, U.S. Open, and British Open.
While Russell has no aspirations of playing the PGA Tour full-time, he does relish this opportunity to compete at this major.
“I’m a Class A Professional and I really enjoy working with people in developing their golf game,” Russell said in reference to being the Head Golf Professional at Golfcrest Country Club.
Russell has competed in a PGA tour event when he qualified for the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio in 2017. Though he barely missed the cut by three strokes, shooting 77-69, the experience was one that helped him work harder on his game. Russell had the best second round score of those that missed the cut.
To get in this year’s PGA Championship Tournament, Russell had to travel to Belfair Golf Club in South Carolina to compete in the Professional National Championship against 325 Class A Professionals that were in the tournament.
“There is a two-day cut, four-round tournament,” Russell said. “The field is then cut to 90 players . Then there is a cut to 70 players. Of the 70, you are trying to win the national championship.”
“At the end of the tournament, the top 20 golfers earn a spot in the PGA Championship. That’s how I qualified. I ended up tying for 8th place. I shot rounds of 76-69-72-70 to shoot even par for the four rounds.”
Russell is from West Monroe, Louisiana and played his collegiate golf at the University of Louisiana-Monroe where he received his college degree. He was a member of the golf team that won the Southland Conference Golf Championship in 2010 which included playing against teams such as Lamar, Stephen F. Austin, and Sam Houston.
The Louisiana native will be traveling to the PGA Championship with his wife, Ashley, and 7-year-old daughter Charly.
Russell will tee off on Thursday, May 16 at 8:46 a.m. and be paired with Luke List and Abraham Ancer.