July 23, 2018
WILMINGTON, Del. — Erik Dulik, a recent University of Louisville men’s golf standout, and Jack Melville, a rising junior at the University of Delaware, overcame whipping winds and cognitive course challenges to share medalist honors in a U.S. Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Bidermann Golf Club (par 72, 6,871 yards) Monday.
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The two posted 2-over-par 146s on a day that demanded patience, persistence and perseverance.
Wind gusts up to 40 mph on a Dick Wilson design glistening with native grassland tested the collective will and wits of the 70-player field. Dulik and Melville adapted accordingly — and admirably — to advance.
The U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 13-19 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.
“The wind was nuts all day,” Dulik, 24, of Great Falls, Va., said. “I feel like I did a great job flighting my ball, keeping myself out of a lot of trouble. I don’t think I made a double bogey today. I kept the ball in front of me, tried to avoid the big hazards and took bogey when I needed to.”
“Today, with the conditions, I kind of just grinded out there. Patience was key,” Melville, 20, of Maple Glen, Pa., said.
The co-medalists started on opposite ends of the tee sheet. Melville, playing in the day’s first group, posted a 2-over-par 74 in the morning — two shots off the 18-hole lead, held by Hartefeld National’s Ryan Rucinski, a senior at Wilmington University and recent BMW Philadelphia Amateur medalist. His feel for the flatstick changed in the afternoon.
“Putts just started falling in the second round,” Melville, a Lu Lu Country Club member, said. “In the first round, I was hitting fairways and greens, but just burning edges. I just tried to stay patient. A couple of putts went in this round, which helped.”
Mid-range looks on Nos. 11 (par 3, 184 yards) and 16 (par 3, 232 yards) represent the happy couple. Melville’s 7-iron on the first nearly caught the front bunker. He nudged a wedge to six feet and executed the ensuing par putt. Melville buried an eight-foot slider on the 16th hole after the wind caught his 3-wood and created a difficult uphiller.
A birdie on the 13th hole (par 4, 378 yards) gave Melville the greens gusto he needed down the stretch. Following a safe 4-iron off the tee, he combated the wind with a 6-iron from 180 yards. Melville converted a 15-footer for 3.
“I started getting the feel of the greens right. I started getting some confidence with the putter after that,” he said.
Hard to believe the confidence wasn’t bubbling already. Melville carded a trio of birdies prior. On No. 1 (par 4, 359 yards), he spun a 98-yard sand wedge off the green and drained a 25-footer from the fringe. Melville wanted a pitching wedge in his hands as an approach club. Mission accomplished after he played a 4-iron out of the left fairway bunker to 130 yards. Melville executed a 15-footer for birdie. With the wind breathing down his neck on No. 12 (par 5, 521 yards) tee, he launched his drive into safe haven — 280 yards from the flagstick. Melville’s 3-wood landed short of the green. A chip to six feet meant a 4.
A pair of par 3s giveth, and a pair taketh from Melville Monday. Three-putts on Nos. 4 (176 yards) and 8 (211 yards) inflicted bogeys. Melville’s miss on the former served as a microcosm of the day.
“I hit my tee shot 10 feet above the hole, I just touched it and it went 10 feet past the hole. I missed the putt coming back up,” Melville said. “I knew everyone had to play in those conditions, so I didn’t let it get to me. I just moved on. It was probably the windiest [day of golf] I’ve ever played. But I was having fun out there. I was using the wind [to my advantage]. I watched the British Open, and I was like, ‘Man, this is like the British Open out here.’ I just started playing more low shots, which was fun.”
Dulik, playing in the day’s last group, also used selective and creative shotmaking to his advantage Monday.
“Just making sure you don’t’ get too aggressive when the wind is howling like that because you can turn a five-yard draw into a 20-yard draw,” he said. “You have to be careful. Things can go south quick.”
They never did at Bidermann. Fresh off a Top 20 performance in the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia, Dulik rattled off 11 consecutive pars to start Round Two and remained in the qualifying mix. Mostly safe, routine work, except for a 15-foot save on No. 8 that amended a loose hybrid. Dulik played the remaining 10 holes in 1 over to match Melville.
Dulik, who transferred to Louisville following a year at the University of Delaware, inked three birdies and an eagle en route to a 73 in Round One. He hit a gap wedge 120 yards to 20 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 359 yards); a 7-iron to 20 feet on No. 11 and a straightforward chip to three feet on No. 12.
While Melville is halfway through collegiate academics (a finance major) and athletics, Dulik is uncertain as to his next step post-summer.
“I’m really considering going to European Tour Q-School in October. It’s either that or continue playing in amateur events,” Dulik, who majored in sport management at Louisville, said. “I have a big decision coming up.”
The next big decision for the co-medalists and first-time U.S. Amateur participants? Who will accompany each on a trip to Pebble Beach?
“This has been a dream to play in [the U.S. Amateur],” Dulik said. “No words. I’m just beaming.”
“It’s crazy. It hasn’t set in yet,” Melville added.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) 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 Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Erik Dulik, Great Falls, Va.||73-73–146|
|Jack Melville, Maple Glen, Pa.||74-72–146|
|Alternates (in order)|
|Joe Tigani, Hockessin, Del.||74-74–148|
|*Austin Barbin, Elkton, Md.||73-76–149|
|Failed to qualify|
|Steve Skurla, West Chester, Pa.||73-76–149|
|Jolo Timothy Magcalayo, Philippines||75-75–150|
|Michael O’Brien, West Chester, Ohio||77-73–150|
|Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia, Pa.||73-77–150|
|Benjamin Feld, Philadelphia, Pa.||73-78–151|
|Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.||72-79–151|
|Michael R. Brown, Jr., Maple Shade, N.J.||76-76–152|
|Gary McCabe, Collegeville, Pa.||74-78–152|
|Tyler Newton, Bel Air, Md.||77-75–152|
|Ryan Tall, Collegeville, Pa.||77-75–152|
|Zachary Barbin, Elkton, Md.||79-74–153|
|Robert Bechtold, Avondale, Pa.||76-77–153|
|Zachary Falone, Mickleton, N.J.||77-76–153|
|Paul Mauer, Eagleville, Pa.||73-80–153|
|Marty McGuckin, Valley Forge, Pa.||75-78–153|
|Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del.||77-76–153|
|Alexander Butler, East Norriton, Pa.||77-77–154|
|Michael Davis, Philadelphia, Pa.||74-81–155|
|David Kim, Dresher, Pa.||78-77–155|
|Robert Maguire, Pottstown, Pa.||79-76–155|
|Alex Mulrooney, Wilmington, Del.||77-78–155|
|Ryan Rucinski, Wilmington, Del.||72-83–155|
|Michael Cook, Berwyn, Pa.||79-77–156|
|Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.||80-76–156|
|Russell Wren, Morgantown, Pa.||78-78–156|
|Cole Berger, West Chester, Pa.||78-79–157|
|Grant Skyllas, Wyomisssing, Pa.||75-82–157|
|Parker Wine, West Chester, Pa.||79-78–157|
|Steve McDonald, Nashville, Tenn.||81-77–158|
|Wills Montgomery, Exton, Pa.||79-79–158|
|Dan Brown, Broomall, Pa.||78-82–160|
|Danny Dougherty, Wilmington, Del.||76-84–160|
|Jack Irons, Naples, Fla.||79-81–160|
|Thomas Lewis, Doylestown, Pa.||79-81–160|
|Reed Winkler, Wilmington, Del.||81-79–160|
|Stephen Cerbara, Langhorne, Pa.||82-79–161|
|Robert Olseski, III, Wayne, Pa.||84-77–161|
|Matthew Smith, Yorklyn, Del.||77-84–161|
|Blake Hinckley, Chadds Ford, Pa.||86-76–162|
|Jakob Keidel, Ocean View, Del.||81-81–162|
|Matt Kristick, Berlin, Md.||85-77–162|
|Stephen Seiden, Newtown Square, Pa.||81-81–162|
|Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa.||83-79–162|
|Matthew Davis, Newtown Square, Pa.||84-79–163|
|Brian Fischer, Philadelphia, Pa.||83-80–163|
|Logan Fuglestad, Newtown, Pa.||83-80–163|
|Ross Pilliod, Reading, Pa.||81-82–163|
|Scott Forrester, Cheltenham, Pa.||78-86–164|
|Mark Wachter, Wilmington, Del.||81-83–164|
|Elmer Hansen, IV, Blue Bell, Pa.||79-86–165|
|Tianlin Zhang, Concord, Mass.||79-86–165|
|Sumeet Arora, Woodridge, Ill.||76-90–166|
|Joseph Chambers, Malvern, Pa.||81-85–166|
|Sam Soeth, Newtown Square, Pa.||88-78–166|
|Max Harrington, Emmaus, Pa.||84-83–167|
|Regan Papariello, Philadelphia, Pa.||86-81–167|
|Brendan Bacskai, Berwyn, Pa.||83-85–168|
|Richard Kline, III, Kennett Square, Pa.||86-83–169|
|Nino Rosal, Camden, Del.||86-84–170|
|Mark Coassolo, Macungie, Pa.||89-87–176|
|Dylan Chessher, Dover, Del.||93-94–187|
|Peter Bradbeer, Rosemont, Pa.||82-WD–WD|
|Evan Brown, Kennett Square, Pa.||83-WD–WD|
|Steve Oh, Philadelphia, Pa.||87-WD–WD|
|Danny Pedrazzi, Glen Allen, Va.||83-WD–WD|
|Nikita Romanov, Wilmington, Del.||WD-WD–WD|
|Jeffrey Romines, Conshohocken, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Keegan Shreves, Potomac, Md.||WD-WD–WD|
|Jay Vasil, King of Prussia, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Cole Berman, Rosemont, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Scott Cahayla, Wilmington, Del.||WD-WD–WD|
|Chris Lange, Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|David Liotta, Broomall, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Mike Moffat, Warrington, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|*–determined in playoff|