WATCH: With PGA Championship on the line, pro’s ball hung on the lip

Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce on Wednesday on the 17th green on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club.

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Tim Pearce picked his ball from the hole, pumped his right fist, fist-bumped his caddie, then gave one of those looks you might give when you bite into a particularly sour lemon. From just off the green on the par-3 17th on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club, he pressed both hands against the side of his head. 

Pearce had made a birdie putt. He was just a par away from playing in his first PGA Championship. But for six seconds and maybe a millimeter during Wednesday’s final round of the PGA Professional Championship, he hadn’t. And wasn’t.  

“Can you leave us in suspense any more than that, Tim Pearce?” the Golf Channel announcer asked. 

Doubtful. 

Pearce, on the 220-yard, par-3 17th, had hit his tee shot to about 8 feet. To that point, he was one over for the four-round tournament, which would end up being the number that would put five players in a playoff for four spots in next month’s PGA, at Kiawah Island. Pearce putted. And his birdie attempt stopped on the left lip.

Pearce squatted over. According to the rules, he’d have “a reasonable time to reach the hole and 10 more seconds to wait to see whether the ball will fall into the hole.”   

“It’s not done moving. That’s not done moving. It’s not done moving,” the announcer said on the broadcast.

It wasn’t. After 6 seconds, it did. 

“Get out of here,” another announcer said.  

“You made it a little more interesting, I’m sure,” the first announcer said. “Yeah, you can smile now.” 

Now at even par, Pearce would par the 441-yard, par-4 18th, and the pro from Birmingham Country Club in Michigan was off to the PGA. A few yards off the green, he hugged mom and dad. 

“I’m so proud right now,” his dad said. “That was awesome. That was something.” 

The 20 PGA professionals who will play in the May 20-23 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina: Pearce, Omar Uresti, Frank Bensel Jr., Ben Cook, Larkin Gross, Ben Polland, Stuart Smith, Alex Beach, Danny Balin, Brett Walker, Tyler Collet, Peter Ballo, Joe Summerhays, Derek Holmes, Brad Marek, Rob Labritz, Mark Geddes, Patrick Rada, Greg Koch, Sonny Skinner 

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor