South Hadley native Chris Tallman set to tee off at PGA Professional Championship

  • Chris Tallman poses with a trophy after winning the Connecticut Section Professional Championship in October. Tallman will tee off in the PGA Professional Championship, Sunday at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. Tallman, who lives in Holyoke, is a South Hadley High graduate and general manager at Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown. COURTESY FACEBOOK/CONNECTION SECTION PGA

  • Chris Tallman poses with a trophy after winning the Connecticut Section Professional Championship in October. Tallman will tee off in the PGA Professional Championship, Sunday at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. Tallman, who lives in Holyoke, is a South Hadley High graduate and general manager at Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown. COURTESY FACEBOOK/CONNECTION SECTION PGA

  • Chris Tallman will tee off in the PGA Professional Championship, Sunday at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. Tallman, who lives in Holyoke, is a South Hadley High graduate and general manager at Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown. COURTESY PGA of America

Staff Writer
Published: 4/26/2019 9:42:23 PM

Chris Tallman had no trouble finding someone to solicit advice about what to expect at the PGA Professional Championship.

He just asked his good friend and former South Hadley High teammate Adam Rainaud.

Rainaud twice navigated the tournament to advance to the PGA Championship. That is something Tallman is hopeful for, but he isn’t looking past Sunday’s first round of the PGA Professional Championship.

“It’s all one shot at a time,” Tallman said Thursday en route to a practice round at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. “You can’t get ahead of yourself. It’s four days of golf hopefully. That’s what we all look forward to. That’s a lot of golf. There’s a lot of opportunities to make birdies out there. You really have to take it one shot at a time, one fairway at a time, one green at a time and give yourself some opportunities for some birdies.”

Tallman is one of 312 golfers competing for the Walter Hagen Cup at the 52nd PGA Professional Championship. The top 20 advance to the PGA Championship, held May 16-19, at Bethpage Black in New York.

The Holyoke resident and general manager/head pro of Cold Spring Country Club in Belchertown qualified for the PGA Professional Championship with his win at the Connecticut Section Professional Championship in October.

He spent the winter playing against contemporaries at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

“I certainly know that the competition is there,” Tallman said. “I’ve been able to prove to myself that I can compete with most of them so it does take some of the nerves away. At the same time, for PGA professionals like myself, this is the biggest event that you can play in at our level until you move on. There’s more excitement than nerves I’d say.”

The 32-year-old had a consistent 2018 to win Connecticut Section PGA Player of the Year. He had two wins and eight top-five finishes.

He finished tied for third in his first tournament this season.

“I feel pretty good. The confidence is there,” he said. “I had the opportunity to play through the winter down in Florida so that certainly helps. All season long I played very consistently. I didn’t make many mistakes. I am approaching it as taking your time, being patient, making birdies and pars where ever you can and try not to make any big mistakes. I think that’s what it really takes out here.”

The field will play each of Belfair’s courses over the first two rounds. The low 90 scorers and ties advance to the third round. The low 70 scorers and ties will play the final round. Both the third and fourth rounds are played at Belfair West.

The East Course is a links-style course. The West Course is a parkland-type course. The weather outlook for Bluffton is low 80s and sun from Sunday through Wednesday.

“The courses are going to be tough, conditions can be tough,” Tallman said. “From what I’ve heard there can be some good wind down here at Belfair so it’s really just staying patient and not making any big mistakes, trudging along and make some birdies.”

Tallman will have his friend Mark Vincellette of Hadley on his bag. He will also have Rainaud’s advice. Rainaud tied for fifth in 2017 and played the first two rounds of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club. He tied for 10th in 2015 and missed the cut at his first major at Whistling Straits.

“He’s been down here and he’s made it through to the PGA Championship twice. He’s a great asset to be able to talk to him and get his thoughts and pick his brain a little bit,” Tallman said. “He’s like, ‘You’re capable of doing it just go out there and shoot low scores.’”




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