MALVERN, Pa. — As an amateur, Zach Juhasz tasted U.S. Open Final Qualifying for the first time a year ago. The experience reassured his career intentions.
“I got to play with Ben Griffin, who was quitting golf at the time because he was going to become a loan officer. Now he’s [Top 10] on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Juhasz, 25, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “He was throwing in the towel, and then he almost made the U.S. Open. He missed it by two shots. I remember playing with him and thinking, ‘I can keep up with him.’ I felt like if I ever got back [to U.S. Open Final Qualifying], then I’d do pretty well.”
Juhasz, now a professional with status on the APGA (Advocates Professional Golf Association) Tour, will find out June 6. He carded a 3-under-par 68 to earn medalist honors in U.S. Open Local Qualifying administered by GAP at White Manor Country Club (par 71, 7,011yards) Monday.
Fellow professional Thaddeus Obency, II and amateurs Morgan Lofland of Phoenixville Country Club, Mark Miller of Philadelphia Cricket Club, Cole Willcox of Merion Golf Club and Owen Manchester, a sophomore at the University of Delaware, also qualified in regulation. Professional Stephen Cerbara of Langhorne, Pa. advanced in a sudden-death playoff.
The 122nd U.S. Open will take place June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
“It’s a way bigger stage, so I’m definitely a lot more comfortable. I didn’t know what to expect last year [at Woodmont Country Club],” Juhasz said. He will again head to Woodmont in Rockville, Md. for U.S. Open Final Qualifying.
Juhasz knew what to expect Monday: challenging conditions at a championship-caliber golf course. His mantra: stay patient, don’t overdo it.
“My good is good enough,” Juhasz said.
Starting on the back nine, Juhasz made a four-footer for birdie on No. 12 (par 3, 190 yards) following a crisp 7-iron. Back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 (par 4, 460 yards) and 14 (par 3, 214 yards) — a mishit 3-iron into the water and a misjudge 5-iron into the throat — slowed. A tap-in birdie on the uphill par 4, 329-yard 15th hole reset the affable Juhasz. He carded four birdies coming in: a 3-iron to three feet on No. 3 (par 3, 246 yards), a 7-iron 155 yards to four feet on No. 4 (par 4, 415 yards), a driver-3-iron-wedge combination to 10 feet on No. 6 (par 5, 553 yards) and a pitching wedge 140 yards to four feet on No. 9 (par 4, 436 yards).
Juhasz’ s lone miscue on his inward nine occurred on No. 2 (par 4, 432 yards), where he misjudged the wind and failed to reach the green with an 8-iron from 153 yards.
Juhasz, who won the GAP Tournament of Champions in 2019, earned an invitation to compete in the APGA Tour’s Valley Forge Championship last September at Bluestone Country Club. It marked his professional debut.
“I felt like I had done everything I pretty much wanted to do in amateur golf,” Juhasz said.
After spending the winter in Florida, Juhasz decided to join the APGA Tour fulltime. Established in 2010, the APGA Tour’s mission is to prepare African Americans and other minority golfers to compete and win at the highest level of professional golf, both on tour and in the golf industry. To bring greater diversity to the game of golf, the APGA Tour partnered with inner-city youth organizations to introduce both boys and girls to the game. It also sponsors diversity symposiums where leaders of the minority golf community gather to discuss ways to best diversify the sport.
Juhasz, who is sponsored by St. Luke’s University Hospital, plans on competing in the next APGA Tour event, set for June 20-21 at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga.
Lofland, the reigning GAP Junior Player of the Year, finished his freshmen year at Penn State University a week ago. A member of the Nittany Lions golf team, he competed in only three events during the spring. Formidable Big 10 competition didn’t jive with technical tweaks.
“I made some swing changes, and it was a tough transition actually. It was a good experience, and it’s going to help me in the end,” Lofland, 19, of Paoli, Pa., said. “My short game’s going through a lot of work, but I’m not changing anything with the putting. I wasn’t worried about the mechanics out there today. I was just focused on shotmaking and scoring. This course is about positioning. You have to be in the right spots.”
Being in the wrong spots on Nos. 1 (par 4, 423 yards) and 2 reverted Lofland, who started on the back nine, back to even. He quickly recovered with birdies on Nos. 3 and 5 (par 4, 369 yards): a 3-iron to eight feet on the former, a pitching wedge from 134 yards to 18 feet on the latter. Lofland will compete in U.S. Open Final Qualifying for the first time on June 6 at Woodmont.
Miller, the 2007 GAP Open Champion, will make his fifth U.S. Open Final Qualifying appearance.
“I just kept it in front of me. I kept it pretty simple,” Miller, 36, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “It was one of those rounds where you miss it, but you miss it in good spots. I had good speed on my putting all day. I made the putts that help you stay in the round.”
Look to Nos. 11 (par 5, 529 yards) and 12 (par 3, 190 yards) for evidence. A two-putt birdie from 60 feet below the hole location on the former, a six-footer on the latter.
Willcox, who finished as runner-up in the 2008 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, birdied his final two holes to qualify. On No. 17 (par 5, 549 yards), he hit a 6-iron from 197 yards to the back third of the green and two putted. Willcox dripped in an eight-footer on No. 18 (par 4, 417 yards) after hitting a high-draw pitching wedge from 140 yards.
“I was 2 over pretty early on the front nine and really swinging it kind of bad. I only hit a couple of greens on the front. But I just stuck with it and found a little something in my swing,” Willcox, 33, of Wayne, Pa., said.
Miller and Willcox will head to Woodmont 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 Association’s 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 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 state||Score|
|Zach Juhasz, Bethlehem, Pa.||68|
|(a) Morgan Lofland, Paoli, Pa.||69|
|(a) Cole Willcox, Wayne, Pa.||69|
|(a) Thaddeus Obecny, II, Wheeling, W. Va.||69|
|(a) Owen Manchester, Irvine, Calif.||69|
|(a) Mark Miller, Philadelphia Pa.||69|
|*Stephen Cerbara, Langhorne, Pa.||70|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*(a) Griffin Mitchell, New Albany, Ohio||70|
|*Maclain Huge, Charlotte, N.C.||71|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Jake Sollon, Venetia, Pa.||71|
|*(a) Evan Barbin, Elkton, Md.||71|
|*(a) Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.||71|
|*(a) Angelo Giantsopoulos, Canada||71|
|(a) Scott Ehrlich, Berwyn, Pa.||72|
|(a) Jahan Bains, Olympia, Wash.||72|
|(a) Cunningham, West Palm Beach, Fla.||72|
|Ian McConnell, Centreville, Va.||72|
|(a) Pietro Bovari, Italy||72|
|(a) John Peters, Carlisle, Pa.||72|
|Eric Beringer, Philadelphia Pa.||72|
|Michael Winter, Ocean City, N.J.||73|
|Kyle Vance, Naples, Fla.||73|
|Peter Bradbeer, Rosemont, Pa.||73|
|(a) Richard Riva, Philadelphia Pa.||73|
|(a) Jared Tendler, Yardley, Pa.||74|
|Andrew Cornish, Pottstown, Pa.||74|
|(a) Michael Davis, King of Prussia, Pa.||74|
|(a) Tyler Sokolis, Doylestown, Pa.||74|
|(a) Seth Conway, Elmira, N.Y.||75|
|Joe Orsino, Bensalem, Pa.||75|
|(a) Thanapol Apinyawuttikul, Thailand||75|
|(a) Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||75|
|Thomas Freed, Royersford, Pa.||75|
|(a) Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||75|
|(a) Yuxuan Song, Peoples Republic of China||76|
|(a) Tyler Zimmer, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||76|
|(a) JuanMarco Arosemena, Panama||76|
|(a) Jaron Leasure, Nashville, Tenn.||76|
|(a) Andy Butler, Philadelphia Pa.||76|
|(a) Scott McNeil, Springfield, Pa.||76|
|(a) Benjamin Pochet, Royersford, Pa.||76|
|Matthew Shur, Wilmington, Del.||76|
|Alec Stopperich, Pittsburgh, Pa.||77|
|(a)Ron Robinson, Hatfield, Pa.||77|
|(a) Nathan Fry, Nazareth, Pa.||77|
|(a) Kyle Filippelli, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.||77|
|(a) Jacob Klaus, Haddonfield, N.J.||77|
|(a) Jeffrey Osberg, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||77|
|(a) Michael Dunphy, Jr., Philadelphia Pa.||78|
|(a) Keller Mulhern, Exton, Pa.||78|
|(a) Joseph Dotta, Henderson, Nev.||78|
|(a) Ross Pilliod, Reading, Pa.||78|
|(a) Matthew Barnes, Bethesda, Md.||78|
|Carey Bina, King of Prussia, Pa.||78|
|(a) Kazuki Osawa, Japan||78|
|(a) Erik Stevens, Annondale, N.J.||78|
|(a) Jason Langer, Boca Raton, Fla.||78|
|(a) Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.||78|
|(a) Harrison Ornstein, Naples, Fla.||78|
|Michael Little, North Wales, Pa.||79|
|(a) Kevin Lydon, Doylestown, Pa.||79|
|(a) A.J. Gilpin, Norwell, Mass.||79|
|(a) Joseph Tigani, Hockessin, Del.||79|
|(a) Matt Pulgini, Wilmington, Del.||79|
|(a)Joseph Morganti, Philadelphia Pa.||79|
|(a) Ed Brown, Rehoboth Beach, Del.||79|
|(a) Andrew Curran, Media, Pa.||79|
|(a) Travis Gahman, Quicksburg, Va.||79|
|Michel Dagenais, Canada||79|
|(a) Lee Nonnemacher, Richlandtown, Pa.||79|
|(a) Corey Betham, Norristown, Pa.||80|
|(a) Nicholas Hano, Warrington, Pa.||80|
|(a) Ajeet Bagga, Blue Bell, Pa.||80|
|(a) Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.||80|
|Travis Deibert, Doylestown, Pa.||80|
|(a) David Hurly, Newtown Square, Pa.||80|
|Nick Funk, Arlington, Va.||80|
|Mike Violante, Downingtown, Pa.||81|
|(a) Vimal Alokam, Ypsilanti, Mich.||81|
|(a) Charles Young, Woodstock, Md.||81|
|Kevin Benstead, Tampa, Fla.||81|
|Andrew Hewitt, Dagsboro, Del.||81|
|Chris Colman, Wenonah, N.J.||81|
|Kyle Early, Bridgeport, Pa.||82|
|Christopher Gray, Middletown, Del.||82|
|Steven Ashworth, Media, Pa.||82|
|(a) Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||82|
|(a) Drew Steiner, Boca Raton, Fla.||82|
|(a) Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.||82|
|(a) Noam Roizman, Blue Bell, Pa.||82|
|(a) Chris Richter, Malvern, Pa.||83|
|(a) Andrew Wallace, Narberth, Pa.||83|
|(a) Hunter Stetson, Newtown Square, Pa.||83|
|Ryan Kline, Kutztown, Pa.||84|
|(a) Mark Jackson, West Chester, Pa.||85|
|(a) Jarred Berish, Pottstown, Pa.||85|
|(a) Brian Walsh, Wayne, Pa.||85|
|(a) Coley Hunter, Rockville, Md.||85|
|(a) Brendan Mannix, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||85|
|(a) Joshua Gallagher, Wilmington, Del.||86|
|(a) Jackson Debusschere, Wallingford, Pa.||86|
|(a) Zach Capps, Atlanta, Ga.||86|
|(a) Matt Crilley, Allentown, Pa.||91|
|Matt Lashinger, Jupiter, Fla.||91|
|(a) Adam Benza, Hellertown, Pa.||94|
|Charles Graham, Myrtle Beach, S.C.||DNF|
|(a) James Gradisek, Wayne, Pa.||NC|
|(a) Zachary Falone, Jupiter, Fla.||NS|
|(a) Geoffrey Cooper, Erdenheim, Pa.||WD|
|*-determined in playoff|
|DNF-did not finish; NC-no card; NS-no show|
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