Rob Corcoran made his greatest step forward by falling behind. The East Hampton resident, a teaching pro at Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack, had dropped out of the top 20 before he made the final-round turn last week at the PGA Professional National Championship. He was excruciatingly mindful that only the top 20 make it into the PGA Championship.
"I just set a goal to shoot 3 under for the last nine, and that made it easier. It allowed me to get into a mindset that was more aggressive," he said the other day, back from Myrtle Beach, S.C., having become the only Long Islander to qualify to play alongside the PGA Tour elite in the season's final major.
Corcoran is heading to Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky next month because his 2-under-par back nine was good enough for a tie for 12th among the nation's best club pros. He finished the final round early, so all he could do was try to stay calm while waiting for the rest of the field to post scores. "I was checking my phone every 35 to 40 seconds," he said.
The Connecticut native has spent his professional career on Long Island, having been an assistant pro at Spring Lake, Lawrence and Tam O'Shanter. "I've had some great bosses who always supported me and allowed me to work on my game," said the teacher who faced a full lesson schedule this weekend-the busiest time of the year in the Hamptons -- but knew he would make time to prepare for the tournament of his life as well.
Tall Grass highly rated
Tallgrass Golf Course in Shoreham has seen an increase in play "and rave reviews" from golfers about having been ranked No. 7 in New York State on Golfweek's list of Courses You Can Play. Head pro Larry Menne said the clientele is enjoying the condition of the greens, which are running between 11 and 12 on the Stimpmeter.
Everyone at the course is proud that the national publication rated Tallgrass second only to Bethpage Black among public courses on Long Island. Among the architecture features worked in by Gil Hanse, the Long Island native who also is designing the course for the 2016 Olympic Games, is room for four separate teeing areas on each hole, accommodating varied skill levels.
Sergio at Bethpage a hit
TaylorMade this week released its video of Sergio Garcia paying a surprise visit to golfers at Bethpage Black (reported in Newsday on June 19). In the first 48 hours, it received more than a quarter-million views and became the No. 1 trending sports video on YouTube, a company spokesperson said. It can be seen at www.taylormadegolf.com . . . Suffolk defeated Nassau, 7-5, in the Girls High School All-Star match at Huntington Crescent Club, although Suffolk coach Tom Kane said, "We try to downplay the competitive part." The event, sponsored by Smithtown Landing's Michael Hebron, comprised a unique format: six holes of two-player scramble, six holes of alternate shot and six holes of singles matches.
Fact of the week
The oldest surviving prize for a U.S. Golf Association championship is the Cox Trophy, which goes to the U.S. Women's Amateur winner. It was presented in 1896 by Robert Cox of Scotland, a member of Parliament. This year, it will be awarded on Aug. 10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove-as it was the last time the Women's Amateur was held there, in 1914.