Bringing out his best

In same month Coloradan Matt Schalk will compete in KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, he narrowly misses qualifying for PGA Championship

By Gary Baines – 5/3/2023

Perhaps Matt Schalk will petition the PGA of America’s powers that be, requesting that all possible future national club pro championships be contested at Twin Warriors Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.

After all, the PGA general manager at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie won the national PGA Senior Professional Championship — out of a field of 264 — at the course last fall. Besides earning a national title — he’s the first Coloradan to win that event since Bill Loeffler in 2007 — it gave him a berth in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship that will be played May 25-28 in Frisco, Texas. It’ll be the first PGA Tour or PGA Tour Champions event as a contestant for Schalk, not counting Q-school.

Then this week, also at Twin Warriors GC, Schalk was in contention for the title early during Wednesday’s final round of the nationally televised PGA Professional Championship. In fact, after making birdies on two of his first three holes, he was well inside the top 10 in a tournament that started with 312 contestants.

A top 20 finish would have given Schalk a PGA Championship berth the week before he goes to the Senior PGA.

Alas, a rough stretch in the middle of Wednesday’s round — when the wind kicked up and he went 4 over in a stretch of seven holes — dropped him out of the top 20 and he ended up finishing tied for 27thplace after closing with five straight pars. Still, a win last October at Twin Warriors, plus a top-30 finish this week out of 312 of the best club pros in the country is not to shabby for the lifelong Coloradan.

Matt Schalk closes out his tournament on Wednesday in New Mexico.

Schalk, father of three-time girls state high school individual champion — and current University of Colorado golfer — Hailey Schalk,  was in 15th place after three rounds in New Mexico (71-71-72). And birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 on Wednesday put him very much in contention for the title.

But bogeys on holes 7, 9, 10 and 13 led one of the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame’s Golf Persons of the Year for 2022 to post a 2-over-par 74 in the final round. That left him at even-par 288 and two strokes behind the final qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

So next up for the 2022 Colorado PGA Senior Professional Champion will be the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, one of five majors in senior golf. Other Colorado PGA members who qualified last fall for the 2023 Senior PGA were Doug Rohrbaugh, Micah Rudosky and Dave Arbuckle.

Locals in National PGA Professional Championship

Scores for golfers with strong Colorado ties in the 312-player national PGA Professional Championship that concluded on Wednesday in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. Note: Top 20 finishers earn a spot in this month’s PGA Championship.

27. Matt Schalk, Erie 71-71-72-74—288

Missed 54-Hole Cut

71. Geoff Keffer, Lakewood 75-71-74–220

71. Ben Lanting, Highlands Ranch 73-74-73—220

91. Micah Rudosky, Cortez 70-76-76–222

Missed 36-Hole Cut

Grant Jackson, Aurora 74-76–150

Sherry Andonian-Smith, Aurora 73-78–151

Former Coloradan Brandon Bingaman, Dallas 78-76—154

Bill Hancock, Parker 75-79–154

Jason Witczak, Aurora 79-77—156

Bobby Quaratino, Arvada 79-78–157

Chris Hyten, Castle Rock 82-78–160

Ben Honaman, Arvada 80-82–162

For all the scores from the national PGA Professional Championship, CLICK HERE.

About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates