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Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 22, 2017

Dave Tentis' Thoughts On The 2014 PGA Championship
Dave Tentis Acknowledges The 2012 3M Championship Crowd Photo Courtesy of CastleView Photography
+ click to enlarge
Dave Tentis Acknowledges The 2012 3M Championship Crowd Photo Courtesy of CastleView Photography
+ click to enlarge

Dave Tentis, Woodbury resident and Minnesota native, has qualified to play in the PGA Championship, August 7-10, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY.

Dave, who in real life is the hard working Head Golf Professional at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, WI, recently shared his personal story as a golfer and his thoughts on earning a spot in the prestigious field.

Dave grew up playing golf at Dellwood Hills Country Club where he honed the golf skills that he still possesses. Nearby White Bear Yacht Club also allowed Tentis, whom members saw as a potential star in the golf world, to play their private club. He credits the length of Dellwood for his excellent long irons play and he thanks WBYC members for allowing him to develop his short game with creative imagination and deft touch while playing all the quirky little shots around the greens.

Tentis attended the University of Houston, the school that during that stretch was the UCLA of college golf, graduating in 1985. Dave, along with teammates Billy Ray Brown, Steve Elkington and Blaine McCallister, won three NCAA Golf Championships for the University of Houston where Dave was All-American in1982. Immediately after graduation, Tentis went to PGA TOUR Qualifying School. He finally earned his TOUR Card on his 4th attempt, but golf had dealt him a fatal blow. After failing to qualify, Tentis first played the Asian Tour and traveled with fellow Minnesotan pro, Bill Isrealson. After two seasons in the Far East, Dave spent two seasons on the Canadian Tour where he was in the top 5 each year in the Canadian Order of Merit. That outstanding play earned him an exemption to play full time on the Australian Tour where he faced some of the best players in the world. In his first tournament he was paired with Bernard Langer, the #1 player in the world at the time.

That fall Dave earned his TOUR Card and life looked good, even though he had developed a nagging shoulder problem. A mis-diagnosis of the shoulder issue led Dave to exacerbate the problem by stretching the already loose shoulder muscles. Every swing of a golf club created a partial dislocation of his shoulder. After complete shoulder re-construction, Dave had lost his competitive edge and the desire to travel. With his college degree and his experience in international golf, Dave became a club professional and course manager. Today Tentis is head professional and general manager at Troy Burne.

Dave can still play. Even though he only plays about 15 to 20 rounds per year, he is among the elite of the 28,000 working club pros in America. Each year the PGA has a championship for working club professionals. The top 20 finishers each year earn the honor of representing their group and their club at the PGA Championship where they compete with Rory, Sergio, Jason and Tiger.

The Valhalla Championship represents the 5th PGA Championship for Dave Tentis. He played four in a row from 2002 - 2005 and made the 36-hole cut at the Hazeltine Championship. When asked, what are your expectations for the tournament? Tentis replied, "I plan to hit it and chase it and hit it again. Just like I did for 4 days at the Club Pros Tournament." For you non-tournament players, Dave means, he will just put it on automatic pilot. Aim it down the fairway, shoot at every flag and let his magic short game bail him out.

Dave plans to use the same caddy he used at the qualifier, Chris Soffera, who works as a full time caddy at the private course at Kiawah Island, SC. Chris was amazed at the variety of nifty little shots that Tentis used to save par.

Dave is taking his family on this golf odyssey. Wife Gretchen, whom he met while playing at Dellwood ("Where else would I meet a girl, that is where I spent all my time," Tentis said.) and their two 10-year-old children. Dave has had a difficult time relating to his kids that over a million people will be watching him play golf on TV. "Really dad?" His son, who is among the growing legion of young Sergio fans, was pleased to learn that the family will be having lunch in the same dining room as his hero. "You might even get to shake his hand and get an autograph," Dave informed him.

But the biggest thrill for the Tentis family will be the courtesy car provided by the PGA. They will have a Mercedes Benz to use as the family car for the event week. What a thrill!

Golf fans from Minnesota will want to watch one of our own "Hit it and chase it" in the biggest of golf events!

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Article comment by: Larry Berle

Earlier this summer I played golf at Mississippi Dunes with the course owner, Doc.
He proudly pointed out the placque on the wall showing the course record. It was posted by Dave Tentis and is a 54. Doc told me he thinks that is the best round of golf ever posted anywhere, by anyone on a par 72 course. I Googled "lowest golf score" and in fact could not find one lower. I did find some 56s, but no other 54. So from Doc's perspective Dave may be the best golfer who ever played the game.

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Article comment by: Brian Williams

Best of luck at Valhalla G.C. this week. Enjoy the all the moment(s) both on and off the course. I am certain all the MN golf reps wish you the same success.
Brian Williams

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