Jun 23, 2021

#GAPOpen Qualifying: Schuylkill

LedgeRock’s Pilliod pops in Open Qualifying

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. — Given his impressive march to the 121st BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Quarterfinals a week ago, one may assume that momentum carried Ross Pilliod into Open Championship Qualifying Wednesday at a serene Schuylkill Country Club (par 72, 6,770 yards).

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But you know what happens when you assume.

“I was exhausted. I practiced Thursday and played Friday, and honestly, the game felt really bad,” Pilliod, 24, of Reading, Pa., said. “You’re so focused and locked in for 100 holes of golf or whatever. I think I was so just drained. The club felt really weird in my hands.”

The good kind of weird Wednesday. Pilliod, a LedgeRock Golf Club member, carded a 1-under-par 71 to earn medalist honors as well as one of 12 qualifying positions and ties available for the Championship proper.

The 117th Open Championship will take place July 13-14 at Country Club of York.

Pilliod, who shared medalist honors in BMW Philadelphia Amateur Qualifying last month at Heidelberg Country Club, knows the mindset necessary to make cuts.

“Center of the green. Bogey is not going to kill you. Grab birdies when you can,” he said.

Pilliod grabbed three in his first five holes Wednesday. His 9-iron did the trick on Nos. 1 (par 4, 395 yards) and 2 (par 4, 368 yards): from 158 yards to 10 feet on the former, from 162 yards to seven feet on the latter. A “burner cut” pitching wedge on the par 4, 400-yard No. 5 resulted in a 12-footer for birdie. A pair of bogeys thereafter threatened to unravel an otherwise even-keeled Pilliod. He missed No. 6 (par 3, 214 yards) green left with a 5-iron. Tree trouble off No. 7 (par 4, 436 yards) tee complicated Pilliod’s approach. He failed to get up-and-down from the left bunker.

Pilliod’s inward tour proved far less eventful: a bogey (albeit a tense one) and a birdie. He splashed an 8-iron into the water on the downhill par 3, 168-yard 11th hole.  

“That hole was playing really hard today. It’s 165 yards but it played down 10. And it was dead into the wind,” Pilliod said. “I pulled it. I was lucky it landed over the penalty area and rolled it into the water.” Consequently, Pilliod’s relief area made bogey more attainable.

On the par 5, 486-yard 14th hole, Pilliod’s 4-iron from 215 yards landed flag-high in the right rough. He nudged a chip to three feet for birdie.

“I think competition brings out the best in me, for sure,” Pilliod said. “If you put me within 150 yards, then I’m feeling really confident. I need to clean up the tee shots. Others it’s right miss, left miss. There’s still a lot of work to do. But it feels good to know that I can still come out, shoot a good round and rally my way around the course.”

Aware of the Open Championship venue, Pilliod elected to compete in U.S. Open Local Qualifying at York in May. He carded a 1-over-par 71 and fell in a playoff for an alternate position.

“I played pretty well there. I really like the course. It’s definitely a championship golf course,” Pilliod said. “You can’t take off on a hole. You’re going to have a lot of long irons. There are some birdie holes that you should take advantage of, but then there are some holes where par is going to be really good. I’m excited.”

And ready. Now that’s a safe assumption.

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 Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, clubScore
(a) Ross Pilliod, LedgeRock Golf Club71
Ross Brown, Fox Hill Country Club72
(a) Jarred Texter, Conestoga Country Club72
(a) Brian Noonan, The Links at Gettysburg73
(a) Nicholas Vecellio, Moselem Springs Golf Club74
(a) Jason Wilson, Olde Homestead Golf Club74
(a) Christopher Cerminaro, Glenmaura National Golf Club75
(a) Logan Snyder, Briarwood Golf Club75
(a) John McClure, Country Club of York76
Eddie Perrino, Eagle Rock Golf & Resort76
Jason Przystup, Crossgates Golf Club76
(a) Tucker Sandercock, Steel Club76
Andy Watters, Talamore Country Club76
Failed to qualify
(a) Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club77
(a) Grant Skyllas, LedgeRock Golf Club77
Patrick Butkus, Tavistock Country Club78
(a) Nick Hand, Schuylkill Country Club78
Thomas Michaels, Berkshire Country Club78
(a) Joe Dulka, DuPont Country Club79
(a) Devin O’Connor, Country Club of York79
(a) Logan Hess, Crossgates Golf Club80
(a) Jonathan Glick, Meadia Heights Golf Club81
(a) Billy Howard, Applebrook Golf Club81
Mike Paukovits, Chestnut Hill College81
(a) Michael Gallagher, Galloway National Golf Club84
(a) Joshua Krumholz, LedgeRock Golf Club84
(a) Henry Pilliod, GAP Youth on Course84
(a) Jason Weaver, Saucon Valley Country Club84
(a) Thomas Dzwonczyk, Country Club of Scranton85
(a) John O’Donnell, Applebrook Golf Club87
(a) Brian Gardner, Bellewood Country Club88
(a) Michael Berish, Bellewood Country Club89
(a) Bryar White, Bala Golf Club92
(a) Kevin Scherr, Southmoore Golf ClubWD
(a) Stephen Northrup, Rolling Green Golf ClubWD
WD – withdrawal; (a) – denotes amateur

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