15th Annual Gerry Dulac Parkway West Rotary Charity Classic
Monday, July 29th
Sewickley Heights Golf Club
Benefits Robinson Twp. Parks & Recreation Department and Parkway West Rotary Charities
Includes: 18-hole Scramble, Gift, Continental Breakfast, Dinner, Auction.
Register online at parkwaywestrotary.com
Special Editions of the Golf Show
The Golf Show LIVE at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina, Monday March 11th, 8-9pm
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Since he began playing golf in ninth grade, Sebastian Hutman has been on something of a fast track to success.
In just six years, he has played a bucket list of iconic golf courses -- Winged Foot, Merion, Baltusrol, Aronomink -- as a member of Oakmont Country Club's junior traveling team; is a sophomore in the golf management program at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.; and leaves today for a six-month internship at the storied Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Oh yeah, and he is one step closer toward qualifying for the 2013 U.S. Open.
"I wasn't big enough to keep playing football," said Hutman, an amateur from Conneaut Lake. "So I decided to pick up golf."
He has picked it up in a hurry.
Hutman shot a 1-under 70 on Tuesday in a U.S. Open local qualifier at Grove City Country Club, tying Canadian PGA Tour player Mark Hoffman for low honors and gaining one of the four qualifying spots.
On a cool, gray day in which Hutman and Hoffman were the only players to better par, the other qualifying spots went to former Grove City member Derek Forese (71), an assistant professional at Bermuda Dunes in LaQuinta, Calif; and Shawn Adamczyk (72), an assistant pro at the Kahkwa Club in Erie
They will advance to as 36-hole sectional qualifier at various sites, the final step on the road to the U.S. Open June 13-16 at the Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.
Hutman's rapid ascent is surprising, although his transition to golf is not.
Since he was 8, Hutman lived along the fairways at Oakland Beach Golf Club in Conneaut Lake. The course is owned by his stepfather, Gar Prebor, an Oakmont member. But he spent most of his time in grade school and middle school playing other sports, among them football and soccer.
"I played every other sport but golf," Hutman said.
That all changed when he got to high school. Hutman began playing golf in ninth grade. Because his stepfather was a member at Oakmont, he took lessons from golf professional Bob Ford and eventually became a member of the club's junior traveling team. That's where he was able to play courses most golfers only dream of playing.
"Bob changed his feet position and that was it," said Prebor, who caddied for his stepson.
Hutman made his move on the front nine, when he shot 33 with birdies at Nos. 2, 5, 6 and 8, the latter when he hit a hybrid to 6 feet at the 445-yard par 4. On the back, he just tried to play mistake-free, offsetting a bogey at the par-3 11th with eight pars.
"I played really solid, really well," Hutman said.
Advancing to a sectional qualifier was something of a panacea for Hoffman, a native of suburban Toronto who was still trying to get over the shocking last-minute collapse of the Toronto Maple Leafs the night before in Boston.
"I didn't really want to play today," Hoffman said.
Hoffman, though, managed to get over the disappointment with a round that included three birdies and two bogeys. And, unlike the Maple Leafs, he even had some good fortune at the end, electing to play his third shot off a cart path rather than take a free drop at the 532-yard 18th hole -- a decision that allowed him to make a birdie from 30 inches and tie Hutman for low honors.
"If I would've taken a drop, a tree would have been in my way," Hoffman said. "I had a better opening from the path."
Hoffman elected to make the 4 1/2-hour drive from Thornhill, Ontario, to play Grove City because he played there in a qualifier for the 2011 U.S. Amateur and loved the course.
And he didn't even mind the cool May weather, which reminded him of playing in Canada -- and elsewhere.
"I've played in a lot worse," Hoffman said. "I've played a lot in Scotland. After playing there, nothing could be worse than that."
Except maybe a collapse by the Maple Leafs.
Colin Montgomerie is no stranger to Western Pennsylvania.
He has played in the past two U.S. Opens at Oakmont Country Club, most recently in 2007. But he is most remembered for losing a three-way Monday playoff to Ernie Els in 1994, one of several near misses the Scotsman has endured in the U.S. Open.
Montgomerie will come back to the area this summer when he makes his Champions Tour debut at the 30th Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club -- another carrot for a field that is loaded with the Champions Tour's top players.
Curiously, Montgomerie will be trying to win a major championship -- something that has eluded him in a sterling career in which he has won the European Tour's Order of Merit a record eight times, including seven in a row from 1993-99. He also is considered one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time with an unbeaten record in singles (8-0).
With more European Tour victories (31) than any British player in history, Montgomerie was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on May 6, along with Fred Couples, who is also expected to compete at Fox Chapel. The Senior TPC is the first event after Montgomerie turns 50 on June 23.
During his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Montgomerie said, "I will be spending the majority of my time in America competing on the Champions Tour. I personally look forward to walking the fairways again with my good friends Bernhard Langer and fellow inductee Freddie Couples."
Langer, who did not play last year in Fox Chapel because of a prior commitment, is in the field for this year's tournament, scheduled for June 25-30. So is Loren Roberts, who was part of the three-way playoff with Els and Montgomerie at Oakmont in 1994.
Benefits of a champ
One of the perks for winning last year's Senior TPC at Fox Chapel was getting a spot in the 2013 Players Championship being played this weekend at the Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
That was nice for Joe Daley, even though he missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass after opening with a 78. But it wasn't as important as the other benefit: Being fully exempt for one year on the Champions Tour.
"Just getting in all the tournaments, like I did last year, instead of having to Monday qualify," Daley said. "But I should say Monday qualifying made me better, too, just so you learn to maintain the attitude I was maintaining."
Daley was a surprise winner at Fox Chapel because he was really nothing more than a golfing gypsy who had been winless on the Champions Tour. He outlasted three of the top players on the tour -- Fred Couples, Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman.
He will be back to defend his title in June and is looking forward to returning to Western Pennsylvania.
"I played across the street at the Field Club and across the river at Oakmont, and [Fox Chapel] was very similar to what I grew up with on the other side of the state outside of Philly," Daley said. "It had a similar look, and then, of course, the greens got super hard and fast. It took me a couple decades to learn how to approach that, so I learned how to approach it from my experience previously when I played in the Pennsylvania Amateur at the Field Club and Oakmont, when I just threw my stuff in the car and had to drive all the way back across the state because I missed the cut. And I was thinking, 'What happened?' But I learned from it, though."
Faldo flip flops
It remains difficult to tell where former three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo stands on the debacle that surrounded Tiger Woods' incorrect drop at Augusta National.
On the morning when it was announced that Woods received a two-shot penalty but no disqualification, Faldo was very adamant on the Golf Channel that Woods should withdraw from the Masters for violating a rule and signing an incorrect scorecard.
Later that day, when he appeared for his duties on the CBS broadcast, Faldo did a quick back-pedal, saying that the new rules allow for a player who has unknowingly committed a violation to be penalized but not disqualified and that Woods should be allowed to continue.
Now Faldo is back to his original stance, or so it seems, when he was asked during a conference call last week about the decision of the Masters committee to not DQ Woods.
"The whole basis of our game is the rules of golf are equal, and it would have been equal on that day if he had been disqualified, but now it's different," Faldo said. "Now there's a gray area where the committee comes in and can dissolve a rule."
Rocco on 'Feherty'
What does Rocco Mediate have in common with Bill Clinton, Bill Russell, Bobby Knight and Jack Nicklaus?
He will be the featured subject on "Feherty," an in-depth, one-on-one interview show hosted by the madcap David Feherty on the Golf Channel.
"I thought they had the wrong number," Mediate joked about his appearance on the show, which will air beginning 10 p.m. Monday. "Really, I thought other guys canceled and they just put me in."
Mediate, a Greensburg native, is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour who won his Champions Tour debut earlier this year. But it is his constant on-course chatter and rambling sound bites that make him a natural for Feherty's show.
Feherty's sit-down interviews and zany interactions with his guests stretch beyond the golf world. He has also profiled former President Clinton, in addition to basketball legends Russell and Knight, on the show. Each, though, shares the common thread of being a golfer.
"Feherty and I were kind of scary," Mediate said. "It was a lot of fun. I was very honored and very proud he called me. It was very nice."
Senior TPC volunteers need
The Senior Players Championship is still accepting volunteer applications for the tournament. Approximately 600 to 800 volunteers are needed to assist with various on-course and behind-the-scenes aspects of the tournament, ranging from course marshals to player registration.
Volunteers will receive a uniform (golf shirt, vest and hat), meal vouchers and a volunteer credential for tournament access all week, in addition to one weekly ticket and an invitation to a volunteer appreciation party, for a $65 registration fee. Every volunteer is required to work a minimum of three shifts, each ranging from 4-6 hours.
Interested parties can apply online at www.volunteers.cspgolf.com or call the tournament office, 412-729-5050.
Dissa and data
The second 18-hole local qualifier for the U.S. Open is Tuesday at Grove City CC. There are four qualifying spots available for 69 players. .... The 36-hole sectional qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open is Monday at Butler CC. There are 40 players vying for two spots into the Open, which is June 27-30 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. ... The Golf for Patriots outing is May 26 at Pine Grove Golf Course in Grove City. The scramble has a 1:15 p.m, shotgun start with a cookout lunch at 11:30 a.m. The tournament benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our country. Each team must include at least one senior (age 55+) or female. Entry is $300 per team. Call 724-734-9533 or visit Patriotfirstname.lastname@example.org. ... Butler's Golf Course in Elizabeth is offering a summer junior golf program with camps, private lessons and tournaments. The weeklong junior summer camps are available to golfers of all level and kick off June 24 and run July 8-12 and July 22-26, 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $100 per week for ages 5-8, $150 per week for ages 9-16. All participants receive a T-shirt, hat, golf glove, golf balls and hat clip. For information and register, call 412-751-9121 or go to www.butlersgolf.com.
Dan Obremski should be comfortable playing in qualifiers. After all, he spends a lot of Mondays trying to qualify for PGA Tour events.
Obremski, 26, a Penn-Trafford High School graduate, hasn't had much luck in those Monday qualifiers on the big tour. But he certainly had plenty of that -- and game -- Wednesday in the local qualifier for the U.S. Open at Westmoreland Country Club in Export.
Obremski made six birdies en route to a 5-under 66 to grab one of the three qualifying spots in a field of 55 players.
"I've been all over trying to get in -- Florida, Texas, Carolina," Obremski said. "I'm right there. This is my lowest round of the year. I'm definitely pumped about it."
Obremski was one of three players to advance to a 36-hole sectional qualifier, the final step on the road to the U.S. Open June 12-15 at Merion Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia. The other qualifying spots went to teaching professional Kevin Shields of the Robert Morris University golf dome and former mini-tour player Dan Konieczny of Mount Pleasant, each of whom shot 68.
Three other players missed by one shot of forcing a playoff -- former PGA Tour player Bob Friend, Butler Country Club pro Rob McClellan and Oakmont caddie Aaron Williams, a member at Willowbrook Country Club. Friend and McClellan earned the two alternate spots in a playoff.
"The Open is the Open," said Obremski, who has been playing mini-tours since graduating from Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, S.C. "I just wanted to get through the local and hopefully get through the sectional. I'll worry about the Open if I get there."
It wasn't much of a struggle for Obremski, who went out in 33 on the front and made three birdies on the back to offset his only bogey at the short par-4 12th. He even layed up with a 4-iron off the tee at the 348-yard finishing hole, knowing he had a two-shot cushion.
That was unlike Shields, whose bogey-free round included a kick-in birdie from 2 inches at the 438-yard 16th that gained him one of the qualifying spots. Shields also needed a 20-foot putt to save par at No. 17 to protect his spot.
It was the same with Konieczny, who hit a wedge to 2 feet for birdie at the final hole to tie Shields and gain the final qualifying spot.
"I played qualifier golf -- no bogeys, no mistakes," Shields said. "It's two shots higher than if you were playing tournament golf. You don't want to need birdies late, so you plod along. Even though you could have come here and blown out a bunch of birdies, you don't."
That mindset proved to be the correct formula for Shields, who will go to Columbus, Ohio, for a 36-hole sectional qualifier.
Konieczny, though, is trying to re-calibrate his mindset and his game after losing his full-time job and moving to Jupiter, Fla. But, with really nowhere to play, he said he has played just 10 rounds in the past year. That's why he was thrilled, not to mention surprised, with his round that included five birdies.
"The last time I played in any type of one-day event was May of 2012," Konieczny said. "It's expensive to play golf and the mini-tours don't pay any money."
That's the problem Obremski faces, too. But to help cover his expenses, he has held a tournament at Hannastown Golf Club in Greensburg the past three years to raise money.
It's all part of chasing his dream.