DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — A schedule conflict left Matt Gogel with only three options for U.S. Senior Open Qualifying. Google to the rescue.
“I looked up Doylestown Country Club, and it said, ‘classic William Flynn design.’ I thought, ‘Let’s go check it out. It will be nice,’” Gogel, 51, of Mission Hills, Kan., said.
The online impression likely matched the feelings Gogel felt firsthand for Doylestown Thursday. He carded a 2-under-par 69 at the venue to earn medalist honors in U.S. Senior Open Qualifying administered by GAP at Doylestown (par 71, 6,514 yards).
Charles Bolling, a golf instructor at Glen Cove Golf Course in Glen Cove, N.Y., and Dave McNabb, Applebrook Golf Club’s golf professional, also qualified in regulation. Professional Michael Muehr of McLean, Va. survived a four-for-one sudden-death playoff to earn the final qualifying spot.
The 42nd U.S. Senior Open will take place June 23-26 at Saucon Valley Country Club (Old) in Bethlehem, Pa.
“The advantage I had was a getting ahold of Travis [Deibert, Doylestown’s golf professional]. I asked him if he could plan a caddie for me,” Gogel, who competes part time on PGA TOUR Champions, said. “He said, ‘I’d be happy to find you one, or possibly do it myself.’ Travis helped me down the stretch. I had him read putts on Nos. 16 and 18, and he just nailed them.”
Those conversions, in part, gave Gogel qualifying piece of mind. On No. 16 (par 4, 380 yards), he knocked a gap wedge 110 yards to four feet for birdie. The 18th hole, normally played as a par 5 at Doylestown, reverted to a par 4 measuring 490 yards Thursday. Gogel’s drive there found the right tree-line, forcing a layup. He then elevated a wedge from inside 100 yards to 15 feet right of a front-left hole location. Gogel and Deibert bumped fists following the par save.
“I hit my worst drive on the most difficult hole, and make par. I hit my best drive on probably the hardest driving hole and make 6,” Gogel said.
The 6, a double bogey, occurred on No. 11 (par 4, 425 yards), where Gogel’s heavy gap wedge from 113 yards plummeted into the guarding pond. A pair of eight-foot birdies on the front nine atoned for the error. Gogel hit an 8-iron 145 yards on No. 3 (par 4, 410 yards), a gap wedge 102 yards on No. 8 (par 4, 298 yards).
“It’s a challenging golf course,” Gogel said. “I just hit the ball down the middle. I never put myself in trouble. The greens weren’t that fast because of the rains, but there’s still a lot of movement in these greens.”
Doylestown absorbed an inch and a half of rain overnight, thereby forcing a 90-minute delay in starting times Thursday. As a result, the course played longer than it did during Gogel’s practice round yesterday. He met Deibert on the driving range beforehand and received a few pointers.
“He told me a few holes to pay attention to — Nos. 4, 7 and 12. He said that most of it is really straightforward, which it is,” Gogel said.
The same can’t necessarily be said for Gogel’s golf trajectory to this point. In 2000, he joined the PGA TOUR. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro.-Am. in 2002 and accumulated 16 Top-10 finishes in a seven-year span. Gogel left the PGA TOUR in 2007.
“Having to beat the McIlroys and all of the young guys coming up … I had done the PGA TOUR for over seven years and I was kind of tired of it,” he said.
Gogel entered the broadcasting profession in 2007. He provided commentary for Golf Channel, NBC Universal and CBS for 16 PGA TOUR events annually.
The competitive heat returned when Gogel turned 50 last year.
“Why not go play golf again and see what you can do?’ Here I am,’” Gogel said. “Being away from this game, I knew I had to start playing again. It helped that my son (Thomas) was playing very competitively, pushing me. The big thing was last summer. I was going to be in two Majors: the Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills and the U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club. And I played in the British Senior Open at Sunningdale, which is a fantastic course. I said, ‘Play in the Majors and let’s see what happens.’”
Gogel latched onto PGA TOUR Champions in Week 22 of a 39-week campaign. He competed in the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. and Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. earlier this month. Before heading to the U.S. Senior Open, Gogel will play in the Principal Charity Classic at Wakonda Club in Des Moines, Iowa (May 30-June 5). He intends to return to PGA TOUR Champions after spending the summer helping Thomas, a rising senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kan., prepare for collegiate golf.
“It’s been amazing how much I have fallen in love with the game again. Everybody in our age group is falling in love with being competitive, being relevant, being amongst our peers,” Gogel said.
Google Gogel 38 days from now. Maybe “U.S. Senior Open Champion” will be an amazing first return.
Once McNabb secured a score of 1-under-par 70, he walked over to longtime caddie Donny Wessner and delivered a joyous bearhug.
“He’s been my guy for years. He’s as big a part of this as I am. This is going to be our ninth Major championship together. I’m looking forward to it,” McNabb, 56, of Newark, Del., said. “I’ve never played the Old Course. Obviously, Saucon Valley is a great spot. I’ve got a couple Applebrook members who I’m sure I could coerce into taking me up there. It being close to home, it will be nice to have my family there. It will be a special event.”
Doylestown experience proved advantageous for McNabb, a two-time Philadelphia Senior PGA Professional Championship winner (2018, 2021). He regularly competes in the Philadelphia PGA Secton’s Doylestown Open.
“I just tried to stay patient around this course. I know that par is going to be a good score,” McNabb said. “My putter got hot on a couple holes in the middle of the round. I just kind of hung in there from there.”
The aforementioned putts included a 20-footer for par on No. 12 (par 4, 367 yards), a 30-footer for birdie on No. 13 (par 3, 193 yards) and a slippery six-footer for birdie on No. 14 (par 5, 499 yards). McNabb, who started on the back nine, converted consecutive eight-footers for pars on Nos. 8 (par 4, 298 yards) and 9 (par 5, 531 yards).
McNabb previously competed in the 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club.
Thursday marked a homecoming of sorts for Bolling. A Rosemont, Pa. native, he frequented the GAP circuit and captured the Joseph H. Patterson Cup and Amateur Championship in 1978. Bolling made yet another fond memory in the Philadelphia region.
“I had COVID-19 last week, so I haven’t played golf in 10 days. I saved my energy, and I played beautifully,” Bolling, 64, of Glen Cove, N.Y.
Boiling appeared in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National.
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|
|Matt Gogel, Mission Hills, Kan.||69|
|Dave McNabb, Malvern, Pa.||70|
|Charlie Bolling, Glen Cove, N.Y.||71|
|*Michael Muehr, Mclean, Va.||72|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Michael Elliott, Leominster, Mass.||72|
|*David Quinn, Marlton, N.J.||72|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Scott Ford, Manhasset, N.Y.||72|
|(a) Perry Landis, Kutztown, Pa.||73|
|Bill Walker, Riverton, N.J.||73|
|(a) Christopher Clauson, Philadelphia, Pa.||73|
|(a) Ric Sucro, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||73|
|(a) Scott Storck, Blue Bell, Pa.||74|
|Fran Quinn, Holden, Mass.||74|
|(a) Michael Korcuba, Winslow Township, N.J.||74|
|Terry Hertzog, Lancaster, Pa.||74|
|Rich Steinmetz, Gilbertsville, Pa.||74|
|Michel Dagenais, Canada||74|
|(a) Kevin Vandenberg, Pulaski, N.Y.||74|
|(a) P. Chet Walsh, Wayne, Pa.||75|
|Gerard Courville, Stratford, Conn.||75|
|Bill Sautter, Ocean City, N.J.||75|
|(a) Joseph Russo, Sewell, N.J.||75|
|Rick Flesher, Indianola, Iowa||75|
|Brian Varsey, Essex Fells, N.J.||75|
|Rich Hanna, Doylestown, Pa.||75|
|(a) Luis Diaz, Burlington, N.J.||75|
|James Fitzgerald, Kensington, Md.||75|
|John Dimarco, Cherry Hill, N.J.||75|
|(a) Dave Liotta, Philadelphia, Pa.||76|
|(a) Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Ivyland, Pa.||76|
|(a) Ryan Gelrod, Flourtown, Pa.||76|
|(a) Brian Rothaus, Elkins Park, Pa.||76|
|(a) Keith Stone, Chelmsford, Mass.||76|
|(a) Drew Forrester, Parkville, Md.||76|
|(a) Patrick Dougherty, North Wales, Pa.||76|
|Thomas Kalinowski, Scottsdale, Ariz.||76|
|(a) Chris Fieger, Denver, Pa.||76|
|(a) Richard Stevens, Waterbury, Conn.||77|
|Wayne Phillips, Allentown, Pa.||77|
|(a) Michael Anderson, Horsham, Pa.||77|
|(a) Gregg Angelillo, Basking Ridge, N.J.||77|
|Brendon Post, Lincoln University, Pa.||77|
|Eddie Perrino, Mountain Top, Pa.||77|
|Edward Whitman, Blairstown, N.J.||77|
|(a) David West, Downingtown, Pa.||77|
|(a) Chris Storck, Reading, Pa.||77|
|(a) Neil Gordon, Warrington, Pa.||77|
|(a) Edward Armagost, Jupiter, Fla.||77|
|Curley Bishop, Westminster, Md.||78|
|George Forster, Philadelphia, Pa.||78|
|(a) Robert Spellman, Riegelsville, Pa.||78|
|(a) Robert Savarese, Scottsdale, Ariz.||79|
|(a) Gary Greenberg, Nazareth, Pa.||79|
|Dwayne Randall, Olean, N.Y.||79|
|(a) Bill Burke, Little Egg Harbor, N.J.||79|
|Hugo Mazzalupi, Wayne, Pa.||79|
|(a) Joseph Coulson, Pottsville, Pa.||79|
|(a) Nicholas Masterpole, Syracuse, N.Y.||79|
|John Allen, Media, Pa.||79|
|Paul Lejeune, Succasunna, N.J.||80|
|(a) Michael Stamberger, Brielle, N.J.||80|
|Bill Smith, Cornwall, Pa.||80|
|Adz Kozlowski, Philadelphia, Pa.||80|
|(a) Bill Jeremiah, Glen Mills, Pa.||80|
|(a) Greg Wolfe, Wilmington, Del.||80|
|(a) Rick Frable, Coopersburg, Pa.||80|
|Ron Dellostritto, Cheshire, Conn.||80|
|Donald Stenberg, Bernardsville, N.J.||81|
|(a) John Herbert, New York, N.Y.||81|
|Robert Bigonette, Fairfield, Conn.||81|
|John Spina, Schwenksville, Pa.||81|
|(a) David Olexson, Emmaus, Pa.||82|
|(a) Mike Moffat, Horsham, Pa.||82|
|(a) Rick James, Doylestown, Pa.||82|
|(a) Mark Czerniakowski, Montgomeryville, Pa.||82|
|(a) Andrew Horvitz, South Dartmouth, Mass.||82|
|Steve Leblanc, Dominica||82|
|Andrew Barbin, Elkton, Md.||83|
|(a) Frank Corrado, Washington Crossing, Pa.||83|
|(a) George Marucci, Villanova, Pa.||83|
|(a) Bob Beck, Philadelphia, Pa.||83|
|(a) Salvatore Picone, Bethlehem Township, Pa.||83|
|(a) Ronan Culligan, Republic of Ireland||83|
|John Kelly, Canada||83|
|(a) William Marquette, Gettysburg, Pa.||83|
|(a) Andrew Achenbach, Wayne, Pa.||83|
|(a) Victor Leoni, Miami Shores, Fla.||84|
|(a) Johan Van Schalkwyk, Haddon Heights, N.J.||84|
|(a) Mark Sommers, Northampton, Pa.||84|
|Fredrick Taggart, Lancaster, Pa.||84|
|(a) David Hayes, Loudonville, N.Y.||84|
|(a) James Mack, Delaware Water Gap, Pa.||84|
|(a) Lonnie Pintande, Easton, Pa.||85|
|(a) Bryan Marvin, Hatboro, Pa.||85|
|(a) David Larosa, Lansdale, Pa.||85|
|(a) Gary Daniels, Berwyn, Pa.||85|
|Jose Ramos, Puerto Rico||85|
|(a) Ed Brown, Rehoboth Beach, Del.||85|
|(a) Eric Eckenrode, Downingtown, Pa.||86|
|Chris Carpenter, Glenville, Pa.||86|
|(a) John Alterman, New Hope, Pa.||86|
|(a) Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.||87|
|(a) Kenneth Matt, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||87|
|Matt White, Timonium, Md.||88|
|(a) Mark Coassolo, Macungie, Pa.||88|
|(a) Jeff Adams, Scottsdale, Ariz.||89|
|Mike Schu, Mount Carmel, Pa.||94|
|Sam Dominguez, Mexico||DNF|
|(a) Frank Abbott, Doylestown, Pa.||DNF|
|(a) Randy Daniels, Sturbridge, Mass.||DNF|
|(a) Christian Dâ Annunzio, Oldwick, N.J.||DNF|
|Jeffrey Wambold, Macungie, Pa.||DQ|
|(a) Eugene Cardish, Troy, N.Y.||NS|
|John Cooper, Lansdale, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Glenn Smeraglio, Ambler, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Richard Pruchnik, West Chester, Pa.||WD|
|Chris Miyahara, Marlboro, N.J.||WD|
|(a) Daniel Russo, Hagaman, Pa.||WD|
|George Frake, II, Medford, N.J.||WD|
|(a) Jamie Slonis, Sewell, N.J.||WD|
|(a) John Manfredi, Atlantic City, N.J.||WD|
|* – determined in playoff|
|(a) – denotes amateur|
|DNF – did not finish; DQ – disqualification|
|NS – no show; WD – withdrawal|
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