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Michael Block wins PGA Professional

The Associated Press

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) -- Michael Block won the PGA Professional National Championship in a playoff Wednesday to lead the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 38-year-old Michael Block, the PGA head professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, beat Jamie Broce with a 3-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole.

''It's amazing to be sitting here as a national champion,'' said Block, the former University of Missouri player who earned $75,000. ''I wasn't leading that championship for one second until that putt dropped on the second playoff hole.''

Block closed with his second straight even-par 72 at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club to match third-round leader Broce at 2-under 286. Broce, the University of Toledo coach, shot a 75. He bogeyed the final hole, lipping out a 4-foot par try.

''I feel bad for Jamie because he had it, and that putt he had for par on the last regulation hole was perfect,'' Block said. ''Some grain got it and it hit the lip and it lipped out up the hill.

''All of a sudden it opened up, and here we were going to a playoff. It was a win-win for me for me at that point. I was going to the PGA Championship, had a nice check. I had no pressure whatsoever. I was thinking I was back home playing with the boys in a skins game.''

Broce had three birdies and six bogeys in the final round.

''I was losing a lot of iron shots, leaving a lot of shots to the right,'' Broce said. ''I thought that putt at 18 was going in. I hit a pretty good putt. The greens don't break a lot here.

The PGA Championship is Aug. 7-10 at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stuart Deane of Arlington, Texas, was third at 1 under after a 71.

Frank Esposito of Monroe Township, New Jersey, had a 69 to finish fourth at even par.

Karen Paolozzi closed with a 74 to tie for 49th at 10 over, the best finish by a female player in the history of the tournament. Suzy Whaley is the only other female player to make the cut, tying for 64th in 2005.

A former Indiana University player, the 31-year-old Paolozzi is a PGA assistant professional at Druid Hills in Atlanta. Shed played from tees in front of the men.

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