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SportsColumnistsMark Herrmann

Nick Watney thanks LI's Darrell Kestner for putting tips

Nick Watney of the United States watches his

Nick Watney of the United States watches his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Aug. 14, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wis. Credit: Getty Images / Jamie Squire

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - PGA Tour pro Billy Horschel went on Twitter early yesterday to criticize TNT/CBS analyst Ian Baker-Finch for "spewing wrong info" by saying that Nick Watney "works [with] some guy named Darrell." Horschel correctly pointed out that Watney works with swing coach Todd Anderson.

But Baker-Finch was correct, also. Watney still gets advice on his putting from the most famous Darrell in Long Island golf, Darrell Kestner, director of golf at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset and a competitor in 12 PGA Championships and eight U.S. Opens.

Watney's putting was in such poor shape three years ago -- he missed the cut at the PGA, tying Kestner, then 59 -- that a mutual acquaintance told him to drop in on Kestner before The Barclays at Bethpage Black. Watney went for lessons and won the tournament. Afterward, a visibly emotional Watney said, "I owe Darrell a lot."

Although Watney has not been in New York for a while, he still works with the Long Island pro. "We'll text back and forth and work with videos," Kestner said recently. "We stay in touch."

Gaffney makes cut

The Barclays this year is the week after next at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, a course that has proven to be good training ground. It is where Brian Gaffney learned to play, going out to play nine holes in the morning while he was in the afternoon kindergarten class and later winning the club championship in 1992 and 1993. Gaffney, 44, and the head pro at Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, was the only one of 20 club pros to make the cut here in the PGA Championship.

"There's 20 of us and there's 20 great stories from the clubs, the people they touch, the kids that are going to get interested in golf because of their pro that was in the tournament," he said.

Dobyns gives shout out

Interesting sight here on Thursday and Friday: Fresh Meadow Country Club pro Matt Dobyns playing near the towering Sarazen Suites at Whistling Straits. It was not lost on Dobyns, who missed the cut by three strokes, that Sarazen, a golf legend, is one of his predecessors as his club's head pro. "When I see his name and I see things like that, it just makes me feel that much more lucky to be at Fresh Meadow," Dobyns said . . . Pete Bevacqua, chief executive officer of the PGA of America, said of the recent inaugural Women's PGA at Westchester Country Club: "That could not have been a better event for us. It was really a home run." There is no date set for a return, though, what with the event committed to Seattle next year and Chicago the two years after that. "We'll definitely come back to New York. We'll definitely have conversations with Westchester, we'd love to bring it back there at some point."

Chi a runner-up

Nathan Han of Somers, New York, won the Metropolitan Golf Association Boys Junior Championship Friday at Gardiners Bay Country Club, Shelter Island. He defeated Andre Chi of Huntington, 7 and 6, in the final.


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