Last week, Michael Block was the feel-good story in golf. This week another club pro is having his moment in the sun.
Cameron Doan, the director of golf at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas since 1999, is making his first start in a major this week at the Senior PGA Championship, which is being played at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco in nearby Frisco, Texas, and Doan had the honor of hitting the opening drive on Thursday. He went on to post an opening-round even-par 72.
Doan, the PGA’s 2018 Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, competed in more than 10 PGA Professional National Championships before turning 50 without qualifying for the PGA Championship. He attempted to qualify for the Senior PGA four times in the Senior PGA Professional Championship without finishing in the top 35. Twice he came within just a few strokes of getting to that elusive major.
“You get to be my age at 55, you wonder,” Doan said.
Ahead of the 2022 Senior PGA Professional Championship in October, Doan, who was making his fifth appearance in the championship, told PGA.com, “The goal of playing in a major has been there for 40 years. I have to show my students, staff and kids that you can do it. You can set goals, work hard and achieve them.”
The 2022 qualifying tournament was held at Twin Warriors and Santa Ana Golf Clubs in New Mexico, where Doan grew up. Hailing from Silver City, Doan learned the game at a nine-hole course where his father was the head pro and the course superintendent.
“During the summers, the course was the babysitter for my younger brother and me,” he said.
Fittingly, he finished the tournament T-3 in his native state to secure a spot in his first major this week.
“I chased this a long time. It’s nice to catch it,” he said.
North Texas PGA CEO Mark Harrison caddied for Doan on the first hole—helping him start the Championship with a par.
“The first call I made, I called him (Harrison) and said, ‘All right, you’re in for the first hole,'” Doan said. “When I was in the hunt in New Mexico last October, he flew out, showed up Sunday morning on the last round and came strolling up on the 8th fairway when it’s blowing 30 and cold.”
“Incredible, better than you could dream, I would say,” said Harrison after handing off the bag to Doan’s son, Tristan, to caddy the rest of the round. “And to have him hit it right on the screws, that was incredible.”
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Photos: 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek