Club Pro Michael Block Makes PGA Championship Cut Despite Brutal Shank
Club pro Michael Block has put in an incredible display over the first two days at the demanding Oak Hill Country Club to make the cut at the PGA Championship.
The American, head pro at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California, carded consecutive rounds of level-par 70 to comfortably make it into the weekend.
Block reached three-under twice during the round, having opened up with three birdies in his first five holes. His birdie at the 14th, the short par 4 which he played as his fifth hole, featured a laser-like drive that was making waves on social media.
The club pro, clearly playing right at the top of his game, flushed one down the middle, quickly picked up the tee and didn't even need to look at where it was going to finish.
Pure. 👌 Michael Block is absolutely on fire this morning. #CorebridgexPGA | @scpga pic.twitter.com/o0UXSrGBrpMay 19, 2023
Block was then again the talk of social media a couple of hours later, but for all the wrong reasons. After bogeying the par 5 4th hole, he stepped up to the tee on the par 3 5th and hit the most brutal of shanks.
The video was widely shared across social media and sadly for Block his hosel rocket was even given the slo-mo treatment on TV.
Michael .... Block.pic.twitter.com/ZvqzFyhEv1May 19, 2023
Brutal. pic.twitter.com/El8MLODqlBMay 19, 2023
It ricocheted off of a tree and ended up in the thick rough some 70 yards short of the pin, with the resulting wedge shot then coming up shy in the bunker. He carded a double bogey to drop back to level par before commendably finishing with three consecutive pars to make it in at level.
"I don't know. I had the same swing I've had all week," Block said of his shank. "It was a nice little 8-iron, front left pin. I love hitting baby draw with my 8-iron. I've done it well all week, and all of a sudden we've all been there, done that, and we look up, and I'm, like, 'oh, my goodness.'
"The ball was just going off, somehow hit the tree, almost killed somebody, and then comes off and goes in the deep rough, and I was actually fortunate enough to make a double bogey after that, after just making a bogey on the hole before being in the middle of the fairway with a 60-degree wedge in my hand.
"I went bogey, double bogey. I said, okay, your hands are getting too far out in front of you and getting too far away from you. I played the last four holes feeling my hands a little tighter to the body through the impact zone, and I had 6-iron, 5-iron, and 4-iron into all those holes coming in, but I kinda flushed all those coming in. I was very happy with that."
Block is playing in his fifth PGA Championship, having qualified for the 2014, 2016, 2018, 2022 and now 2023 editions. He has also played in two US Opens, in 2007 at Oakmont, and then in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills.
The 46-year-old, who plays social golf with Patrick Cantlay and Beau Hossler, played in the American Express and Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, where he gained the confidence he ultimately needed to make a cut in a Major.
"I'm extremely comfortable," he said. "To be honest, a couple of my friends in Orange County are Beau Hossler and Patrick Cantlay. I've played a lot of golf with them now where they've become my friends. I understand where they're ranked in the world. I understand how my game doesn't quite get up to them, but I'm pretty darn close, and I can compete with them.
"When I was in the Farmers, I beat both pros that I was with at the Farmers this year. I shot 73 on the South Course in a lot of wind on Friday this year at the Farmers. I shot 65 at the American Express. My first round I was in 7th or 8th place after the first round of the American Express this year.
"Then I look back to that, I shot 73 the second round at Southern Hills in the wind as well last year at the PGA Championship.
"I've been gaining that confidence from those finishes in those rounds where I'm like, why not? Why not come here and compete? Why not here at Oak Hill, make the cut? I'm not afraid of them anymore, to be honest."
"Don't make me cry" - Block describes making the cut as the 'last little goal' he had in his career:
"Don't make me cry." Michael Block achieved a lifelong goal today. ❤️ Block is only the second PGA Professional in the last 20 years to be inside the top 20 through 36 holes.#CorebridgexPGA | @scpga pic.twitter.com/O9OEJKR4hIMay 19, 2023
The PGA Championship cut looks set to be anyway from five-to-seven over par, so Block can enjoy the rest of his afternoon knowing he'll have a fairly late tee time on Saturday at Oak Hill.