Orlando Pro Earns Spot At 2012 PGA Championship


Rod Perry, an adjunct professor at Golf Academy of America, carded a solid 5-under-par total of 283 to tie for second place at the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship at the Bayonet and Black Horse courses in Seaside, Calif., and earn a spot in the upcoming PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. The top 20 finishers in the 312-player field earned a berth into the PGA Championship, which will be played Aug. 9-12.

Perry, the 38-year-old head professional at Crane Lakes Golf Course in Port Orange, was tied for second place with Kelly Mitchum, an assistant professional at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort. Perry shot rounds of 72-71-71-69. The top finisher was Matt Dobyns, head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., who cruised to an eight-stroke victory.

Perry has been a part-time instructor at Golf Academy of America for the past five years and is widely considered to be one of the best golfers among club professionals in Florida.

"I was able to downplay the importance of the outcome, but I expected to play well," said Perry, who has played in 10 PGA Tour events, including the Bay Hill Invitational twice, but never before cracked the top 20 in the PGA Professional National Championship. "I was consistent and I hit the ball straight, and the putter was pretty good to me. I didn't look at any leaderboards but when I made birdie on the tough ninth hole the last day, I thought I was in a good position with just nine more holes to go."

Perry was not skilled enough to make his college golf team at Mississippi State University but he improved steadily and played for several years on the mini tour circuit with current stars like Bubba Watson.

"It's one of the messages I try to convey to my students at the Golf Academy of America," said Perry. "I think I am now playing the best golf of my life and I still have a desire to compete. Some of us can blossom at an older age, and many of the GAA students fit that profile."


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