Jul 17, 2023

#USAmateur Qualifying: Torresdale

Sheehan medals, Fricke advances at past home

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The last year has been nothing short of disappointing for Patrick Sheehan.

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Coming off his junior year at Penn State University, where he qualified for NCAA Regionals as an individual and was Second-Team All-Big Ten, his senior year wasn’t what he hoped for.

“Golf has been a mental battle for me the last year,” Sheehan said. “I played so well during my junior year that I might have set too high of expectations for myself. When I wasn’t seeing the results, I was hard on myself. It took a toll on me. I wanted to come out this summer and enjoy golf. I haven’t been enjoying it at all. Luckily, I have a great team at school. They helped me get through it a lot.”

Sheehan, aided by his blistered drives and lanky stride, qualified for his third-consecutive U.S. Amateur and secured medalist honors Monday at The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale (par 70, 6,563 yards).

His 36-hole total of 7 under was good enough by three shots. LuLu Country Club’s Aaron Fricke secured the second spot at 4 under with a final-round 64.

The 123rd U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 14-20 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Sheehan qualified last year at Chambersburg Country Club and in 2021 at Sunnybrook Golf Club.

“Getting back to the U.S. Amateur means a lot,” Sheehan, of Talamore Country Club, said. “I haven’t done my best in my last two tries so I wanted another chance at it. I was inside the cutline last year but then I made a big number to miss the cut.”

Sheehan got off to an inauspicious start. He carded an opening nine of 38 (2 over) but rebounded with a back-nine 32 (2 under) to finish his first round at even.

“I was happy to finish my second nine strong,” Sheehan, 22, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “I knew I had it in me. I made some mistakes and wasn’t getting the putts to fall. I finally was able to get going.”

Sheehan didn’t waste any time using his prodigious length to get into red figures in Round Two. Four birdies and a bogey on the front nine put him immediately back in the hunt. He then two-putted from 16 feet for birdie on No. 13 (par 5, 570 yards), a tap-in birdie on No. 15 (par 4, 302 yards), and rolled in an 8-footer for birdie on No. 16 (par 5, 561 yards) to surge to the top. 

He closed out his medalist campaign in style with a 67-yard pitch to 13 feet on the last (par 4, 400 yards) to close out his 63, a personal best in competition.

“In these 36-hole qualifiers, you have to learn how to remain relaxed. I think after last year and the year before I proved to myself that I have what it takes. It is a long day that can take a toll on people. My goal is to remain calm.”

Sheehan is going back to Penn State for a graduate year in business management.

“I am supposed to have a welcome week orientation for graduate school,” Sheehan said. “It’s the same week as the U.S. Amateur. Hopefully, I can get out of that. They don’t give out exemptions freely.”

He’s got a good excuse.

Fricke got a taste of the USGA National Championship experience in the U.S. Four Ball this May at the Kiawah Island Club in Kiawah Island, S.C. with clubmate Scott Forrester.

“I used that as an excuse to go out and practice this spring because I haven’t been playing much golf,” Fricke, 28, of Lancaster, Pa., said. I have been playing the best golf of my life this year. It feels amazing. I finally have validated myself and my golf game. I should have made one of these when I was playing in college but I didn’t.”

Just a few months later he’ll be heading back. Only because of having a chance to qualify at a past home.

“This is the best accomplishment of my golfing career,” Fricke, who works in municipal finance, said. “I won two events a Drexel University in college but they weren’t big fields and nothing like this. I haven’t tried to qualify for the U.S. Amateur in a few years. The only reason I signed up was because it was here. This is where we played and practiced when I was at Drexel. I love the golf course.”

His local knowledge didn’t pay off in an opening round of 72 but Fricke remained optimistic knowing he could make a run.

Starting his second round on the back nine, he went out in 32 (4 under). Highlighted by a hole-out eagle from the greenside bunker on No. 13.

“The 64 hit me quick,” Fricke said. “All of a sudden I was 4 under and had a chance on the last nine. Once I saw I was only a shot out of the lead I locked in. The greens were so pure here. They were a great speed to make putts.”

On the front nine, he did just that with two 8-footers for birdie on Nos. 4 (par 3, 171 yards) and 5. A bogey on No. 6 (par 4, 450 yards) slowed him down a little but he rebounded in an unbelievable way.

Fricke said he hit, “The best shot of his life,” on No. 8 (par 4, 500 yards). He pinned a 4-iron from 217 yards to two feet to get to 6 under on his round. It would be what got him in the Championship Proper.

After learning he was in, Fricke was looking to celebrate with anyone in sight. Proving to himself he can do it is all the satisfaction he needs. 

“I am going to go out and have a good time at Cherry Hills,” Fricke said. “I am not sure I can win it but I will go and have the best experience that I can.”

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.

Name, city, stateR1R2Total
Patrick Sheehan, Doylestown, Pa.7063133
Aaron Fricke, Denver, Pa.7264136
Alternates, in order
Calen Sanderson, Newtown, Pa.7067137
*Jake Griffin, Kensington, Md.7068138
Failed to qualify
*Hunter Stetson, Newtown Square, Pa.6870138
Austin Barbin, Elkton, Md.6673139
Cael Ropietski, Harveys Lake, Pa.6970139
Jake Haberstumpf, Bethlehem, Pa.6773140
Cole Willcox, Ardmore, Pa.7170141
Nikita Romanov, Wilmington, Del.7270142
Andy Butler, Philadelphia, Pa.7369142
Brock Kovach, Wyomissing, Pa.6577142
Andrue Nicholas, Philadelphia, Pa.7468142
Zachary Falone, Jupiter, Fla.7369142
Kyle Wambold, Allentown, Pa.7270142
Billy Pabst, Roaring Brook Township, Pa.7271143
Brad Riley, Olney, Md.7073143
Morgan Lofland, Paoli, Pa.7470144
Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.7372145
Connor Sharp, Philadelphia, Pa.6877145
Griffin Mitchell, New Albany, Ohio7868146
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.7274146
Zekun Fang, People’s Republic of China7769146
Bank Apinyawuttikul, Thailand7175146
Ellis Messian, San Diego, Calif.7473147
Liam Hart, Holland, Pa.7473147
Aidan Tudor, Mount Airy, Md.7375148
Kevin Lydon, Doylestown, Pa.7474148
Jack Orr, Medford, N.J.7573148
Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.7573148
John Simone, Ambler, Pa.7276148
Jack Hamilton, Canada7871149
Stewart Rickenbach, Doylestown, Pa.7673149
Oscar Maxfield, Salt Lake City, Utah7475149
Adam Mowery, Chadds Ford, Pa.7277149
Ryan Tall, Collegeville, Pa.7178149
Caleb Taylor, Woodbine, Md.7376149
Eli Ropietski, Harveys Lake, Pa.7377150
Joseph Morganti, Havertown, Pa.7773150
Henry Stone, Austin, Texas7576151
Matthew Crescenzo, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.7873151
Walt Todd, Jr., Greenville, S.C.7477151
Scott Forrester, Cheltenham, Pa.7378151
Logan Wagner, Quarryville, Pa.7577152
Peyton Mussina, Muncy, Pa.7874152
Ajeet Bagga, Blue Bell,  Pa.7775152
Nicholas Riscica, Newtown, Pa.7478152
Nicholas Hano, Warrington, Pa.7677153
Josh Notes, Laurel, Md.7678154
Zeqian Fang, People’s Republic of China7480154
Andrew Wallace, Narberth, Pa.8074154
Drew Clark, Kennett Square, Pa.7975154
Jimmy Wolfe, Pottstown, Pa.7876154
Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.8174155
Michael Cardarelli, West Chester, Pa.8274156
P.J. Schulte, Cape May Court House, N.J.7779156
Trevor Grimm, Schnecksville, Pa.7879157
John Stevenson, Ambler, Pa.7582157
Christopher Burns, Washington, D.C.7978157
Christian Deussing, Solebury, Pa.7880158
Michael Dunphy, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.8376159
Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.8079159
Justin Spaeth, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.8080160
Kaden Kinard, New Castle, Del.7784161
Joe Rueter, Rydal, Pa.8082162
William Walde, Washington, D.C.7884162
Nick Ciocca, Berwyn, Pa.8778165
Luke Liddell, Philadelphia, Pa.8481165
Ryan Daley, Morrisville, Pa.8985174
Jeff Bobish, Cranberry, Pa.86WDWD
Jalen Griffin, San Francisco, Calif.WDWDWD
Kevin O’Brien, Philadelphia, Pa.WDWDWD
Matthew Grossman, Bryn Mawr, Pa.WDWDWD
Shepard Stevens, North Haven, Conn.NSNSNS
* – determined in a playoff
WD – withdraw
NS – no show

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