A major golfer

Photo courtesy The PGA of America, by Montana Pritchard.

By Abby Rhodes
July 1, 2011

After four rounds of golf over four days punctuated by peaks of pride and valleys of disappointment, Todd Camplin ’96 walked away from the 18th hole of his final game in the 44th PGA Professional National Championship with a verbal pass to the annual PGA Championship.

Just the top 20 pro national tournament participants advance to the PGA Championship, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf.

“I ended one under par,” Camplin said. “And my caddie, my dad, even media around said, ‘You made the cut! You’re in.’”

Then he walked to the scorer’s tent and realized his roller coaster of emotion was just beginning to advance up its steepest climb. He had tied with three other players for the 20th spot and would have to earn his pass to the championship in a sudden-death playoff.

“It had already been a tough grind the final day, but in the span of three minutes I was told I was in, then realized I had to do a playoff. That realization added a whole new element of adversity,” said Camplin, who emerged the winner, qualifying to compete in his first PGA Championship. 

Camplin’s quest for the national tournament started in his home state of North Carolina, where he is head golf professional at Pinehurst Country Club No. 7. Taking the top spot in last year’s Carolinas PGA Professional Championship allowed him to compete in this week’s pro national tournament among a field of more than 300 golf pros.

Now, with the toughest competition of his career just over one month away, one might expect to find Camplin on the greens daily through July, perfecting his short game and preparing as best he can for unpredictable course conditions. But that would be an ideal scenario, one shared by the golfing greats who regularly top the PGA leader boards. Club professionals like Camplin don’t typically enjoy such luxuries.

“I may not touch my clubs for a week now, just because I have to catch up on being gone from work for a week,” Camplin said. “That’s the X-factor that people don’t always consider. The guys who are playing every week have a huge advantage in that regard.”

But when it comes time to tee off at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Camplin won’t be thinking about his obstacles to victory.

“You enter a golf tournament to win it. I’m going to show up and expect to compete well, make the cut, and stick my nose in there and try to show the boys that the club professionals can play a bit, too.”

Read more about Todd Camplin’s achievements, including two MVP titles as a Bradley golfer, in the latest issue of Bradley Hilltopics.