Par for the Course: Warren planning to return to PGA Championship

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Because only three Maine golf professionals (Tim Angis, John Hickson, Mike Bauber) ever had competed in the PGA Championship prior to this year’s event, many Maine golfers thought that Shawn Warren had made a significant accomplishment by qualifying for this year’s tournament, held Aug. 9-12 at the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri.

And when Warren (77-71-148) did not make the cut, they congratulated him on his “showing.”

Warren, however, is not treating this as a one-time experience. After the tournament, he said, “I look forward to playing in the PGA again.” And his goal is to be at Bethpage Black on Long Island for the 2019 PGA Championship. To Warren, that is not a dream, but a short-term plan.

Why is he confident he can get back to the PGA in 2019 and even make the cut?

His second-round score of 71 indicates that he can contend to make the cut, but as he said, “71 is OK, but it wasn’t something special. I have the game to go lower. So I am staying positive.”

Warren, who continues to be one of the top club players in New England PGA competition, was impressed with the way the PGA puts on a major championship tournament.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “The hospitality and the course set-up — it was a first-class experience.”

Warren, assistant pro at Falmouth, was joined in St. Louis by 15 members of his family, including his mother, Cheryl Lombard of Cape Eizabeth, father, Joe Warren of Santiago, Dominican Republic, and sister Shayna Warren of Bangor.

He said the family also was treated extremely well, to the point that they were picked up at the St. Louis airport if they did not have transportation.

Warren will attempt to qualify for the Web.com Tour in Q-School at the end of the year. Starting in January, he plans to play in Florida pro-am events out of his condominium in Orlando, where he is a member of the Orange Tree Golf Course.

Warren was a star scholastic golfer at Windham High School in 2003, from which he went to Marshall University, where he was its No. 1 player, making the all-conference team twice and setting a school record for overall scoring average.

He played mini-tours before becoming a club pro in 2010. Since then he has been the leading player in the Maine on its Tour Edge Exotics Tour, which no longer exists. On the New England PGA Tour this season his earnings are an open- and pro-combined $21,498.75

Successes in New England golf are small steps in Warren’s master plan to play professional golf full-time. And it is not too late for a 33-year-old to make it.

If he has any regrets about failing to make the cut, he was in some pretty good company. Previous major champions Sergio Garcia, Davis Love III, Padraig Harringston, John Daly, Rich Been, Jason Dufner, Danny Willett, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson also did not make the cut, along with name players like Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, J.B. Holmes, Alex Noren, Bill Haas, Charley Hoffman and Paul Casey.

In addition, there were 14 scores worse than Warren’s, including the 150 shot by Michael Kim, the 2018 John Deer Classic champion. Summed up: He definitely belonged in the 2018 PGA Championship.

*****

In the Maine State Golf Association’s Match Play Championship held Aug 14-16 at Falmouth, four Martindale players were in the field of 32. Andrew Slattery had the best showing, defeating Scott Sirois, Woodlands, 6 and 5, and fellow Martindale member, Brian Bilodeau, 1-up, before losing to Andrew Kane, Prouts Neck, 2-up. Bilodeau had topped Peter Wright, Dunegrass, 3 and 2 in the first round.

Martindale’s Craig Chapman eliminated Mike Doran, Sable Oaks, 2 and 1, before being ousted by Drew Glasheen, Waterville, 2-1. The fourth Martindale player, Jace Pearson, was edged in the first round by Ricky Jones, 1-up.

Top-seeded Cole Anderson of Samoset conquered second seed Drew Powell of Penobscot Valley, 4 and 3, to win the championship.

*****

The weekly MSGA schedule includes: A Senior Tour event, Aug. 20 at Augusta; two Women’s Tour better ball events, Aug. 21 at The Meadows and Point Sebago; the annual B & C Championships, Aug. 22-23 at Martindale; and the Weekend Tour, Aug. 24-25 at Springbrook.

Shawn Warren hits to the 18th green during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Shawn Warren chips to the 10th green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)Shawn Warren walks to the 18th green during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Shawn Warren, left, wipes his face as he walks down the 18th fairway with his caddie Shawn McCurdy during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Shawn Warren putts on the tenth green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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