(Reuters) – Michael Block had a near ace and managed to save par from a bridge but ultimately endured a miserable start to the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday in his first start since taking the PGA Championship by storm last week.
Block, the 46-year-old clubhouse professional who finished in a share of 15th at the year’s second major, struggled to an 11-over-par 81 at Colonial Country Club that left him dead last in the 120-player field and 19 shots back of leader Harry Hall.
“It is what it is. I’m going to live with it. I thought it was going to happen that third or fourth round last week at Oak Hill, and it never happened. It happened now, and I wasn’t surprised by it, to tell you the truth,” said Block.
“The experience I had that last week was next level. So today, coming out here and not having my game at all and having a lot of bad luck or whatever you might call it, just call it golf.”
Block, who teaches golf at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, received a sponsor’s exemption to Colonial after his PGA Championship performance but was unable to conjure up any of that Oak Hill magic on a layout he had not seen until this week.
He began the day with three consecutive bogeys before making birdie from four feet at the par-three fourth where his ball rolled just past the hole. Block made bogey at the fifth before a birdie at the ninth to reach the turn at two over.
After a wayward tee shot at the 10th, Block hit his approach from a bridge and impressively launched a crisp shot that sailed through trees and landed just short of the green from where he managed to save par.
Block followed that with three consecutive bogeys and then carded back-to-back double-bogeys starting at the par-four 15th where he found a fairway bunker with his tee shot and then hit out of one greenside bunker and into another.
While it would take an extraordinary turnaround for Block to make the halfway cut, he said he is not going to lose any sleep if he does not make it into the weekend.
“If I do, cool. If not, I’ll be seeing my kids and my wife tomorrow night in Orange County, California,” said Block. “It’s all good one way or the other.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Sonali Paul)