U.S. Open Local Qualifying: Elmhurst - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 13, 2024

U.S. Open Local Qualifying: Elmhurst

Pabst’s gold ribbon: Elmhurst’s own medals

MOSCOW, Pa. — A miracle to Mike + The Mechanics is a double bogey to Billy Pabst. All he needed Monday.

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After carding the dreaded score on his ninth hole in U.S. Open Local Qualifying administered by GAP at Elmhurst Country Club (par 71, 6,824 yards), Pabst proceeded to play the last nine in 5 under. By doing so, the home-club hopeful medaled with a score of 3-under-par 68 and earned one of three invitations to U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

David Powers, a touring professional out of Jupiter, Fla., carded a 2-under-par 69 to advance in regulation. Logan Paczewski, the reigning Joseph H. Patterson Cup Champion, converted a 10-footer for birdie on No. 2 (par 5, 525 yards) to grab the final qualifying position in a sudden-death playoff.

The 124th U.S. Open will take place June 13-16 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

“After the double bogey on No. 18 [Pabst’s ninth hole], it was now or never. Looking at the leaderboard, there were definitely some low scores,” Pabst, 20, of Roaring Brook Township, Pa., said. “I needed a good front nine for sure. Swing and let it happen. I didn’t try to force it, and putts started falling.”

On the aforementioned 18th hole at Elmhurst, which imprisons those who fail to touchdown on its back-to-front sloping runway, Pabst missed the green long right, an admitted “no-go,” with a 9-iron from 137 yards. A three-putt for double bogey followed.

“I’ve been trying to do my best to stay more relaxed out there, to keep the pressure off myself,” Pabst, a rising junior at Penn State University, where he majors in finance, said. “Oddly, [the double bogey] helped. I’ve also got to give my caddie, Ryan Ruddy, a shout out. He kept me calm all day.”

The Pabst red ribbon on Elmhurst’s front nine went as follows: a pitching wedge 125 yards to 10 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 440 yards), a gap wedge 111 yards to 15 feet on No. 4 (par 4, 398 yards), a 5-iron to 10 feet on No. 5 (par 3, 229 yards), a wedge 80 yards to 18 feet on No. 8 (par 4, 367 yards) and an 8-iron to five feet on No. 9 (par 3, 182 yards).

Monday’s homecoming rejuvenated Pabst, who competed in five events this spring for the Nittany Lions. Mixed results. Nothing to write a hit song about.   

“I think I struggled a little bit at school. I put too much pressure on myself sometimes playing these competitive rounds,” Pabst, the 2019 GAP Junior Sportsperson of the Year, said. “I definitely was tense on the front nine [today]. It almost kind of helped me because I loosened on the back a little bit. The swing took care of itself. I wasn’t stressing too much.”

Logan Paczewski birdies No. 2, the second playoff hole, to advance.

Knowing the property like Neil deGrasse Tyson knows astronomy alleviates stress. Pabst started playing golf at Elmhurst at age 10. He’s worked in the bag room for the past five years.

“It’s a great spot. I live right off No. 14, so it’s a short walk right through the woods. I’ve pretty much grown up here,” Pabst, the 2021 men’s club champion at Elmhurst, said.

Pabst will head to Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. on June 3 for U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

Like Pabst, Powers also molded Monday into a homecoming of sorts. He is close friends with John Roche, Elmhurst’s head golf professional. The two previously worked together at Woodloch Springs.

“Every time I come home, they are great to me at Elmhurst,” Powers, 25, a Glen Spey, N.Y. native, said. “So, I’m pretty familiar with the golf course. The rough is pretty thick out here, so there was definitely an emphasis on hitting the fairway. I was just trying to keep it in the fairway and hit the greens. It wasn’t set up easy.”

Powers, a St. Peter’s University alum, held status on PGA TOUR Canada from 2021-22. He currently competes in Minor League Golf Tour and GPro Tour. Powers will head to Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, Fla. next week as Q School for PGA Tour Americas. Then it’s off to The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. for U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

Paczewski, 20, of Dallas, Pa., is thrilled to advance to the next stage after six years of effort.

“May has been a rough golf month for me. To finally come out to a course close by me, and to get through with my buddy Billy Pabst, is really fun,” Paczewski, who just completed his sophomore season at Rutgers University, said. “It’s great to finally hold a [U.S. Open] invitation and say, ‘I’ve done it.’”

In the playoff, Paczewski’s drive on No. 2 bounced off the cart path and landed in a manageable hole. He then sent a 4-iron from 225 yards to a knight’s sword from the right greenside bunker. A pitch-and-putt resulted in a fist-pumping 4.

Paczewski, an amateur out of Huntsville Golf Club, will head to Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J. for U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

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 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 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.

Name, city, stateScore
(a) Billy Pabst, Roaring Brook Township, Pa.68
David Powers, Glen Spey, N.Y.69
*(a) Logan Paczewski, Dallas, Pa.70
Alternates (in order)
*Andrew Turner, Lititz, Pa.70
*(a) David Mecca, Clarks Summit, Pa.71
Failed to qualify
*(a) Patrick Sheehan, Doylestown, Pa.71
*(a) Chuck Tragesser, Murrysville, Pa.71
*(a) Gregor Meyer, Pittsburgh, Pa.71
*David Quinn, Marlton, N.J.71
*Anthony Sebastianelli, Clarks Summit, Pa.71
*Patrick Ross, Dunmore, Pa.71
Zachary Barbin, Elkton, Md.72
Rusty Harbold, Abington, Pa.72
(a) Eli Ropietski, Harveys Lake, Pa.72
Matthew Bergstrom, Lindenhurst, Ill.73
(a) Noah Moelter, Doylestown, Pa.73
Maclain Huge, Charlotte, N.C.73
Andrew Cornish, Pottstown, Pa.73
(a) Isaiah Williams, Flemington, N.J.73
Danny Lewis, Philadelphia, Pa.73
Bryan Dougherty, Middletown, N.J.74
(a) Boyoung Chang, Republic of Korea74
(a) Jackson Debusschere, Wallingford, Pa.74
(a) Michael Thomas, Scott Township, Pa.75
(a) Cael Ropietski, Harveys Lake, Pa.75
Jordan Eck, Williamsport, Pa.75
Brett Wagner, Cresco, Pa.75
(a) Grant Gronka, Bloomsburg, Pa.75
Michael Young Jr., Erie, Pa.75
(a) Jake Haberstumpf, Bethlehem, Pa.75
(a) Zachary Cozza, Scottsdale, Ariz.76
Michael Molino, Dallas, Pa.76
(a) James Gradisek, Wayne, Pa.76
Andy Brock, Bernardsville, N.J.77
(a) Alex Anderson, Bear Creek Twp, Pa.77
(a) Sean Madden, Moosic, Pa.78
David Horn, Coudersport, Pa.78
(a) Robert Munley, Clarks Summit, Pa.78
(a) Matthew Vital, Bethlehem, Pa.78
Josh Bernard, Tulsa, Okla.78
(a) Tyler McGarry, Pittston, Pa.79
Mariano Medico, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.79
(a) Cade Kelleher, Clark’s Summit, Pa.80
(a) Stephon Draper, Scranton, Pa.80
Craig Maurer, Reading, Pa.81
Ryan Kline, Kutztown, Pa.81
Martin James Price, Canada82
(a) Griffin Cansler, Frederick, Md.82
(a) Race Sick, Tunkhannock, Pa.82
Chris Miller, South Abington Township, Pa.85
John Roche, Moosic, Pa.85
(a) Arav Tank, Haworth, N.J.85
(a) Christopher Stager, Nazareth, Pa.85
(a) Tyler Sweeney, York, Pa.87
(a) Gus Steiger, Milford, Pa.DNF
Michael Williams, Brunswick, OhioDNF
(a) Chris Testa, North Providence, R.I.NS
Andrew Walker, Battle Creek, Mich.NS
Kevin Lisi, Holbrook, N.Y.NS
Nicholas Biondi, Moosic, Pa.NS
* — determined in playoff; (a) — denotes amateur
DNF — did not finish; NS — no show

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