SunLand team earns trip to national tournament

This is one trip they won't mind taking with the boss.

Three amateurs and employees at the SunLand Golf & Country Club pro shop are joining SunLand pro Tyler

Sweet at the 2009 McGladrey Team National Championship after winning a sudden-death playoff at a sectional tournament in Salem, Ore., on Aug 26.

Fred Smith, Mike Phelan and Walter Clark first took a qualifier at their home course on June 20, then teamed up with Sweet at Illahee Hills in Salem at the Pacific Northwest PGA Section Championship, a qualifier in the national McGladrey team competition.

There, 23 teams were whittled down to four in the two-net, best ball format, each team coming in at 13-under par. Teams included Sweet's SunLand squad, plus teams led by PGA pros Tom Carey of Meriwhether National (Hillsboro, Ore.), Ryan Clemens of Pumpkin Ridge-Ghost Creek (North Plains, Ore.) and Mike Gove of Inglewood Golf Club (Kenmore).

Sweet converted a 30-foot birdie putt while Clark made par for the one-shot win.

"We thought we would do OK," Smith said. "Everybody came together at the right time."

The team is set to compete in a 41-team field Oct. 26-28 in the McGladrey Team National Championship at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

The championship tourney purse total is $200,000.

Sweet likes his team's chances.

"Teams are relying on their pros to make their birdies and pars," Sweet said. "It depends on the amateurs; who's playing well."

Sweet will be particularly busy this October; a week before the McGladrey event, he is competing in the ESPN nationals in Las Vegas, where he took third in 2008.

The 164-player championship field competes on three of Pinehurst's premier layouts.

The McGladrey Team Championship is a result of the partnership between The PGA of America and RSM McGladrey, the official accounting, tax and business consulting firm of The PGA of America.

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