Shawn Warren, 35, a teaching pro at Falmouth Country Club, finished 11-over for two rounds at the PGA Championship last week in San Francisco. It was the second time in three years that he qualified for the event. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Shawn Warren found out the hard way that being just a yard off target was a tough spot to be in the PGA Championship.

Warren, 35, a teaching pro at Falmouth Country Club, played in the PGA Championship for the second time in his career last week. As in 2018 in St. Louis, Warren failed to make the cut for the last two rounds, posting rounds of 78 and 73 on the par-70 TPC Harding Park course in San Francisco, which had been toughened considerably by the long, thick grass growing close to the purposely narrowed fairways.

“I had some near misses off the tee and we’re talking one foot, or one yard, off the fairway,” Warren said Monday, adding, “it was a brutal course from the rough and I’m not used to playing fairways that are only 20 to 25 yards wide with that big of a penalty.”

Warren actually got off to a great start on Thursday, with birdies on the first two holes he played, which were the par 5 10th and the par 3 11th.

Then came four straight bogeys. But a birdie on the 17th (his eighth hole) had him back to 1-over and feeling confident that he could make the turn in a good position.

“I hit my tee shot and that was one where I didn’t hit a very good shot. I went into the deep rough and just had to lay it up,” Warren said, short of the green and again in the deep rough. He was able to get on the par 4 with his third shot but three-putted from 35 feet.

“To go from a respectable 1-over to 3-over and you know you’re giving up shots that are so precious and you know how hard it’s going to be to make those up, that right there was a big momentum shift,” Warren said. “It was really discouraging to be 3-over considering you were making three birdies on the (first) nine.”

He finished the round with four more bogeys, including a double, essentially wiping out any chance to make the cut, which ended up being at 1-over. Warren finished 11-over for his two rounds. None of the 20 PGA club professionals competing this year made the cut.

“It was a great experience but obviously I’m highly disappointed with the results,” he said. “I thought with preparation I’d put in, getting out there early to get used to the course and the weather, I would have a good chance to compete. I felt like the ball striking was there but it was just such a fine line between a good tee shot and one that ended up in the rough.”

The club professionals were selected based on the 2019 national point standings. Normally they earn their spots by placing in the top 20 at the PGA Professionals national tournament. This year the qualifying tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, Warren had barely played any competitive rounds this summer and hadn’t been in a multi-round tournament since March. He said some of the regular tour players commented on how tough that would be to go five months without competition and then jump right into one of golf’s four major championships.

The tournament was played without fans, a marked difference from Warren’s only other PGA Tour event, the 2018 PGA Championship. He said he didn’t think the quiet lessened the pressure. Rather, it was just an odd dynamic.

“I mean it was bizarre. It was wild to have everyone being announced on first tee, and normally there’s an excitement and can feel the energy and this year you could hear the pin drop,” Warren said.

Warren admitted he might need a week or two to get past the disappointment. He is planning on playing in the Maine Event, a two-day pro-am tournament for Maine residents on Wednesday and Thursday. Warren’s next significant target is trying to defend his New England PGA Section Championship, Aug. 17-19, with the first two rounds split between Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and the Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.


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