By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
SUNRIVER, Ore. - Getting to the beautiful Sunriver Resort isn't all that easy. But for Scott Erdmann, this 46th PGA Professional National Championship is somewhat of a home game.
Erdmann lives near Portland, about a three-hour drive northwest of Sunriver, where he's the PGA Assistant Professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Oswego, Ore.
"It's great having a home game," said the 36-year-old Erdmann. "Definitely. I'm not too familiar with Meadows, I'm fairly familiar with Crosswater, but being just a few hours from home is nice. I'm fortunate to have a member who has a condo here, so I'm staying there. Then the weather - I've got to think that the weather plays in a little bit to my advantage. It's just something I'm used to. There are a lot of guys here from warmer areas of the country and it's probably easy to get down and think, 'how am I going to play in this?' or what not, but it's been great."
In Monday's second round of the PNC, Erdmann carded a 3-under 68 at the Meadows. That, along with an even-par 70 at Crosswater Club in Round 1, had Erdmann at 3-under 140 through 36 holes and inside the top 10 when he finished his round around noontime.
Erdmann trailed first-round co-leaders Corey Prugh and Rod Perry by five shots, but both players were set to tee off at the more difficult Crosswater Club later in the day.
Speaking of difficult, the early starters at the Meadows on Monday - like Erdmann - certainly didn't experience favorable scoring conditions like those who played the Meadows in Sunday's opening round.
A steady rain with temperatures in the high 40s was what Erdmann experienced throughout most of his round before the rain stopped for his final few holes. After all the low scores that were posted at the Meadows on Sunday - including a pair of course-record 63s by Prugh and Perry and a 64 by Jeff Sorenson - Erdmann was understandably disappointed that the course wouldn't be as ripe for the picking on Monday.
"The conditions this morning were a bit of a bummer," Erdmann said. "But coming from Portland, I have to say, this was just an absolute, typical Portland day. It was cool, there was light rain - it wasn't obviously the best conditions, but I play a lot in the wintertime, so it was just a really average day. It wasn't a big deal."
Embracing the conditions, Erdmann, playing the back nine first, rattled off a string of three consecutive birdies beginning on No. 14, a 393-yard par 4, where he holed a downhill 10-footer.
At No. 15, a 372-yard par 4, Erdmann drained a 25-footer for birdie.
"That settled me down a little more and I was able to make a really good swing on the par-3 16th," Erdmann said. "Anytime you get a birdie on a par 3 out here, you're doing great and you're picking one up on the field. I hit it to about 10 feet and was fortunate enough to make a really good stroke."
Following that birdie, Erdmann said he got stagnant for a while.
"I wasn't hitting bad shots, but I just wasn't making anything," he said. "I had plenty of opportunities."
Erdmann made his lone bogey of the day at the 472-yard, par-4 third hole, his 12th of the day, because of a three-putt. He nearly made matters worse on the very next hole, but salvaged a par that kept the round together.
"The critical point in the round was on 13 (No. 4), the par 3," he explained. "I hit a good shot, but it ran down the back. I had a 30-footer that was going up and over the hill and then coming back down. As I told my caddie, I think I got 'line-drunk.' I picked a line and just didn't hit it and left myself probably 10 feet coming down the hill with about six inches of break. Making that putt coming back settled me back down. Then I made some really, really good swings coming in. I feel like I should have been one or two better, but to finish with a birdie on 18 was definitely strong. It felt good to finish it off with a birdie."
Along with a chance to win the PNC and earn a berth in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in August, eight of the 10 spots available for the U.S. PGA Cup team are up for grabs this week.
The PGA Cup - which is the PGA Professional equivalent to the Ryder Cup, pitting 10 players from the U.S. against 10 from Great Britain & Ireland - takes place at Slaley Hall in Northumberland, England, in September.
Erdmann was a member of the 2011 winning U.S. team at Cordevalle in San Martin, Calif., and would love the opportunity to play on the U.S. side a second time.
Erdmann earned a spot on that team thanks to a tie for second in his PNC debut in Hershey, Pa., in 2011. With a missed cut in the PNC last year, he wasn't able to accumulate any PGA Cup points. To get on the 2013 squad, Erdmann knows it'll take a high finish this week.
"It would mean everything to get back on the PGA Cup team," he said. "I'm really trying not to think about it, because I'm not in that position yet. I didn't get any points last year and I don't even know what I have to finish here to get in. I'm trying to not even think about it. If it happens, it would be an absolute dream. I've said it before - it's a bigger deal than playing in the PGA Championship. That might seem silly to people, but unless you've done it and experienced it you wouldn't understand.
"Anybody who's played on that PGA Cup team that I've spoken with has felt the same. It's an incredible experience. You also get to bring your wife and she gets all those little perks that come with it. A first-class trip to England doesn't sound too bad, either. I'm just trying to take it one shot at a time, one day at a time and see what happens."
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