Braden Shattuck isn’t exactly the nervous type. TV cameras. A steadily growing gallery. Finding himself immersed in a home stretch he didn’t think he’d be in.
All that? That’s fine.
“I get more bothered when I’m off the course, with the anticipation of everything,” Shattuck admitted.
Then he came to the par-5 16th at Twin Warriors. Just your average, straightforward 640-yard monster, the longest hole on the course. Wind whipping in from the right.
And at under 8-under, Shattuck was tied with Matt Cahill for the lead.
So he pulled 3-wood off the tee and thought he lost his first shot in the desert. Shattuck re-teed and hit essentially the same shot, opting to play his first ball anyway.
His approach was good, but maybe not great. He chipped up to the far side of 16’s generous green, facing a 20-foot downhill birdie putt.
Keep in mind, this had not been his finest day on the green.
“Really, I hit it great all day,” he said. “I hit a lot of good tee shots. I hit a lot of good iron (and) wedge shots to give myself a lot of opportunities.
“I just made nothing until the very end.”
Shattuck lipped out of a birdie on the par-3 13th. Was a touch off before tapping in for par on the par-4 14th. Almost had an ace on the par-3 15th if the ball got down quicker, roughly a six-footer for birdie he barely missed.
All that? Now that carried with him into the 20-footer on 16. Shattuck took some time before rolling a slow dribbler – one that finally sunk.
Shattuck had the sole lead again. 9-under-par. He pumped his fist. Closed his eyes.
“I knew he was (doing) some, uh…quiet reflecting,” Ryan Wilson, Shattuck’s caddy, said.
“I didn’t really feel a ton of nerves,” Shattuck said, “until I made that putt on 16.”
Shattuck shook the feeling and parred his last two holes – including a 10-foot par putt on 18 – to finish 2-under-par on the day and 9-under overall to win the PGA Professional Championships at Twin Warriors.
The PGA director of instruction at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania entered the day tied for the lead with John Somers and fell off on the front nine before surging ahead to win the PGA Professional in his first appearance.
“Obviously you want to win the golf tournament when you walk in the door or when you show up on the course,” Shattuck said. “But my goal for this week was really just to hopefully try and make the top 20. I didn’t really know what to expect.”
Unexpected or not, the prize is undoubtedly the sweetest of Shattuck’s career. Coming out on top of a field of 312 earned him $60,000 and exemptions into the 2023 PGA Championship, 2024 PGA Cup and six PGA Tour events over the course of a year after coming out on top of a field of 312.
An Aston, Pennsylvania native, Shattuck’s mother had a membership at The Golf Course at Glen Mills through her position as a teacher at the Glen Mills School. In the summers, she’d drop him off at the course early in the morning and pick him up at 4:30 p.m., a full day of practice in between.
Shattuck put together a strong prep career at Sun Valley High School in Aston before spending a year on the golf team at the University of Delaware in 2012. He dipped out to go all in on golf, grinding mini-tours, qualifying schools, whatever opportunity that came his way.
That led him to seek PGA certification as a golf professional, finally elected to his Class A designation on May 2, 2022 to go into effect on May 3.
365 days later, he hit a 20-foot birdie putt to get his name enshrined on the Walter Hagen Trophy while ensuring a trip to Oak Hill, New York for the PGA Championship.
“It feels incredible,” Shattuck said with a smile. “I couldn’t imagine being here.”
NOTE: For the first time since 2010, the PGA Professional Championship did not have a playoff to determine a 20th qualifier for the 2023 PGA Championship
Chris Sanger was the last to qualify for a spot at the 2023 PGA Championship after finishing 2-under-par overall.