Small Defends Title in PGA Professional

Mike Small successfully defended his title in the PGA Professional National Championship, edging out Sonny Skinner by three strokes on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Small of Champaign, Ill., shot a 1-over 73 to defeat Skinner, who closed with a 71. With the victory, Small became only the second player in the event's 43-year history to win in back-to-back seasons, joining the late Larry Gilbert, who accomplished the feat in 1981-82.

Small took home $75,000 out of the $550,000 purse. He also received an exemption into the 2010 PGA Championship, the 2011 PGA Cup and six PGA Tour events over a 12-month period.

Small got off to a bad start, carding three bogeys in his first four holes. "It was shaky on the first hole and I was 4-over after 11, but I hit some good shots coming in and I held on," said Small, who had a four-stroke lead heading into Wednesday's final round thanks to a course-record 65 on Tuesday.

Small finished the 72-hole event in 8-under 278 on the Pete Dye-designed course. Skinner of Sylvester, Ga., was the only player in the field to post four sub-par rounds. He ended up at 281. Mark Sheftic of Blue Bell, Pa., posted a 2-under-par 70 to finish alone in third, five shots back of the champion.

The top 20 players earned spots in the PGA Championship on August 12-15 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

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