My halfway stop in a northern trip to New Hampshire left me at my Alma mater, Notre Dame. The Warren Course at ND was hosting the first stage of US Open qualifying and I believed it was my best opportunity for success having played it hundreds of times in my career at ND. I also hold the course record of 63 and was looking for a repeat performance of that special day in 2005.
It was a promising day from the opening: a handful of great friends from school came out to support me and acted as forecaddies and my moral support. With Jim Kubinski, the coach of the golf team, as my "pro jock" (caddy), we grinded our way through a day of swirling winds, tucked pins and deep rough, coming out even with the course at a score of 70. Even with the course propelled me ahead of the field in a tie for
2nd place and gives me a spot in the final stage of US Open qualifying.
My final stage will be held in Purchase, NY the week before the Open, at the revered Bethpage Black Course.
It felt like being home again at ND and I'm sure those familiar feelings contributed to an eagle and birdie on the 5th and 6th holes. I made three straight bogies on the course's most challenging stretch between 9-11 and steadied my wavering ship, bringing it home in even par.
Thank you to my ND family for your support and love this week. I'm looking forward to the continued challenge of seeking a chance to contend in the US Open; the event Jack Nicklaus described as the "hardest golf tournament on the planet to win" and the major championship "Tin Cup" Roy McCavoy coined, "the most democratic. Shoot the lowest score and you have a spot in the Open." I am one solid day of golf away from playing in a major and another dream catching opportunity.