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Brooks Koepka claimed the 105th PGA Championship on Sunday, but it was a PGA club professional who won over the fans in Rochester, New York, and beyond.
Michael Block, a golf teacher by day, was celebrating with silverware by night thanks to his T15 finish in the second major of the year.
One of 20 club pros to tee it up in the championship, Block had missed the cut in his six previous major starts but lit up Oak Hill with a week that golf fans will find hard to forget.
His remarkable finish has secured a spot in next year’s PGA Championship field, and the 46-year-old is hoping this won’t be the end of the Michael Block fairytale.
The Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas next week will etch the next chapter.
He said: “I just got a call from Colonial, and I’m in next week as the last sponsor’s exemption, which is really even more mind-boggling now.
“Am I expecting I’ll make the cut? Absolutely. I want to go there, top 10, whatever it is. I want to get more phone calls. I want to get more exemptions. I want people to start calling me and saying, we want you in our event because it makes it better. That’s great to me.”
As the PGA Championship went on, Block described several times how life-changing his week in the Big Apple was turning out to be.
"My life feels like it's changed a little bit."
Michael Block goes mic'd up on his way to a birdie at the 14th 🔊pic.twitter.com/VdEuKE6AVT
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 20, 2023
Three rounds of level-par 70 before a Sunday 71 crowned Block the low club pro, but there were plenty of twists and turns along the way.
The new fan-favourite, who has ‘why not?’ marked on his golf balls, showed his happy-go-lucky personality to defy the odds over a severely testing week.
From a nightmare shank to a dream hole-in-one, Block’s week had everything, but in a fitting end to the championship, the California club pro somehow saved par on 17 and 18.
After slam-dunking an ace on the 15th alongside former world number one Rory McIlroy, Block bogeyed the following hole and required some magic.
But unlikely up-and-downs at the last two holes capped an astonishing week and earned Block over $280,000, a far cry from the $150 he charges per lesson.
Block, who works out of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, said: “Obviously I love my family and everything else and my job and everything, but golf is my life.
“It’s been a surreal experience, and I had this weird kind of sensation that life is going to be not quite the same moving forward, but only in a good way, which is cool.
“I’m just having a good time, and I’m going to take that same vibe to Fort Worth next week and have a good time.”
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