The GBO Link To The PGA Championship
Maine's Shawn Warren will try to do something this week that golfers such as Keegan Bradley, Jeff Sluman and Lanny Wadkins have done - compete in the Greater Bangor Open and then go on to win one of golf's 'majors', the PGA Championship.
The 100th PGA Championship starts Thursday in St. Louis. It is the fourth and final 'major' of the year.
To be honest, Warren has a tougher road ahead of him compared to the past GBO players. He is a teaching pro at Falmouth Country Club and playing competitive golf is only part of his golf year. Bradley, Sluman and Wadkins were young players at the time, tryiing to play their way up the PGA ladder.
And they did.
Bradley was PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2011 and his first win was the PGA Championship that year. Bradley never did score a win at the GBO. He will play in this week's PGA in a group with Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
Nor did Sluman. But he did win the PGA Championship in 1988. Sluman won five times on the PGA Tour and now competes on the PGA Champions Tour (formerly called Seniors Tour) and has won six times.
Wadkins won the Greater Bangor Open back in 1971. Six years later, in 1977 he won the PGA Championship Major. He would gone on to win 20 other PGA Tour tourneys. For many years, Wadkins spent time broadcasting golf on network TV.
Shawn Warren has won just about everything you can win in Maine. He's been a High School champion (Windham HS), Maine Junior Amateur Champ, Maine Amateur Champ. Warren has won the Greater Bangor Open Pro Tourney (2008) and the Maine Open Pro Tourney in 2004 as a amateur. He finished 40th at the GBO last month.
Warren gets the chance to play in the PGA by earning one of 20 spots set aside for teaching pros. There were 312 players trying to qualify for those 20 spots at a tourney in California in June.
Never before has he played in a PGA Tour event. Until he tees it up Thursday.
Only two other Maine pros have played in the PGA Championship. John Hickson played in 1997 at Winged Foot in New York. Tim Angis played the PGA major in 1993 at Inverness Club Toledo, Ohio.
NOTE: Hear what Shawn Warren has to say about playing this week's PGA Championship on Tuesday's 'Morning Pitch Show' at 6am on Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket.