Jul 20, 2023

119th #GAPOpen: Round Two Notebook

Laurel Creek’s Quinn competes with heavy heart

BUCKINGHAM, Pa. – Dave Quinn got a phone call that he planned on getting at some point, but it is one you can’t ever prepare for. His mom was clinging to life.

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“My mom has been sick for about a year or so and has been bedridden in her home,” Quinn, 57, of Marlton, N.J., said. “My brother and I have been her caretakers for the last year and a half and she had been doing pretty well mentally during that time. Then the day before the GAP Open her body started to fail. We brought a nurse in, and she said that it wasn’t looking good.”

Quinn showed up and played in Round One, carding a round of 2-under-par 70 at Lookaway Golf Club.

“I was going to withdraw from the event,” Quinn, the director of instruction at Laurel Creek Country Club, said. “She was coherent, and I asked her if she wanted me to be here. She said, ‘Your dad would want you to play.’ My dad passed away a few years ago. So I played and got some calls during the round that she was failing.

“I was able to spend the remainder of the night with her and she died at 2 a.m. this morning. I was not going to come but what else was I going to do? I wasn’t going to sit at home and mourn. So I decided to play, and a lot of Hollywood stories would have said I would have gone out and shot 10 under to win. But it was the other way. It was hard to concentrate. I felt guilty, like I shouldn’t be here.”

The Philadelphia Open holds a special place in Quinn’s heart. He triumphed in 2006 in a playoff at Llanerch Country Club.

“I decided to play and clear my mind,” Quinn said. “While I didn’t play my best, I had fun and got to play with one of my great friends in Rich Steinmetz. I got a lot of kind words from my friends. It’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I love this event. I would never want to miss playing in this tournament.”

He carded a final round of 75 to finish in a tie for 31st.

His father bought Centerton Golf Club in 2000 and The Links Golf Club in 2003 ,where he played out of when he won the #GAPOpen. Quinn said his parents knew how important golf was to him.

“My family has a huge impact on my life through golf,” Quinn said. “I was fortunate enough to work for my family’s business running a golf course. That was one of the main reasons I was able to play, practice and compete.”

Catherine Quinn was 82 years old. The Quinn matriarch was involved in Dave’s life from the beginning. Always lending a hand, always lending a listening ear.

“My mom took care of us,” Quinn said. “She made breakfast, lunch and dinner and looked out for our every need. I had a perfect childhood because there was no hate or anger. I try to give that to my kids as well. I want them to be able to come to me with any concerns. That’s why losing her has been so hard. We are a tight knit family. My father was involved in golf, and my mom was my support system.”

Quinn said he is thankful for the opportunities given and time he had with his parents.

“I’ve got two parents and my family to play for,” Quinn said. “I want one more last hurrah. I want one more Major before I am done. This is an event that I feel I can still compete in.”

Elmhurst’s Pabst finds success at comfortable place

BIlly Pabst and Lookaway Golf Club have greeted each warmly.

Shades of courses he grew up playing in the Anthracite Golf Association region, Pabst’s game flourished.

“Lookaway is a great place,” Pabst, 19, of Roaring Brook Township, Pa., said. “The course is always in great shape. It has a lot of similarities to Elmhurst Country Club and Huntsville Golf Club up north. It has a mix of both, but this is a place I love and I feel at home at.”

Pabst played to his potential on Thursday by means of a final-round 66 to finish in a tie for third at 7 under in the 119th Open Championship at Lookaway (par 72, 6,904 yards).

“I had a rough start in Round One and I kind of scrapped it around to shoot 1 under,” Pabst said. “I got kind of nervy down the stretch yesterday. It felt good to hold it together today towards the end of the round.”

Pabst, a rising sophomore at Penn State University, competed in 21 competitive rounds for the Nittany Lions during his freshman year. He compiled a 73.86 scoring average.

“Sometimes you just have to let it happen,” Pabst said. “I have been out here for years forcing success. I have had a hard time giving myself a breather. I have put so much pressure on myself that golf feels like a job. I just want to enjoy golf.”

Thursday, he found that slice of solace on the golf course. Not taking his results so seriously but enjoying the walk around the Buckingham, Pa. oasis. 

After opening with a bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 379 yards), he rattled off seven birdies including a trio on Nos. 15 (par 3, 169 yards), 16 (par 4, 408 yards) and 17 (par 5, 520 yards). His 66 tied for the low round of the day.

Golf is everything to Pabst. He said there isn’t a way for him to get away from golf except for working … at a golf course.

“Working at Elmhurst helps me get a break away from golf even though it’s at a golf course,” Pabst, who has been working there for five years, said. “I work with some of my best friends in the bag room. So it is a place where I can kick back and relax. It is such a great place to be. It means a lot to me.”

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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