Grays Harbor golf alum Patrick Nugent makes first alternate for US OPEN sectionals
|Patrick Nugent stands along side Grays Harbor AD Tyler Gaston.|
This year's Cinco de Mayo will be a day that former Grays Harbor College golfer, Patrick Nugent, will remember for the remainder of his days. It was a day that spanned the entire range of emotions for the young golfer. For the second consecutive year, Patrick attempted to qualify for the US OPEN. Patrick decided to go with the Oregon qualifying route, held at Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Washington. The Royal Oaks qualifier saw upwards of 120 scratch golfers attempting to move on to the sectional rounds. The top 7 players would realize their dream.
Patrick started the round with a birdie on the opening hole. He followed his first hole birdie with a bogey on #4, another birdie on #6, and another bogey on #8. After the first nine, Patrick stood on the 10th tee box at even par.
"I thought even par was pretty good, but I knew I had to make a little more happen with the level of competition." - Patrick Nugent
And make things happen he did! Nugent birdied the opening three holes of the back side, moving him to -3 after 13. His run included a 50-foot miracle birdie putt on #12. Patrick's lone bogey of the final nine came on hole #14, dropping him back to -2 for the single day event. On the final hole, Nugent lipped out a 10-foot birdie putt, and he finished the local qualifier two under (70).
"At that point, I texted some family and friends to let them know where I stood. I was in the fourth spot with just under half of the field to finish. I knew it would be close. I also knew a play-off was a possible scenario."- Patrick Nugent
When the dust settled and everyone had finished, Patrick was in a 3-way tie for the final two spots to move on to sectionals. In the first play-off hole, Patrick missed a 5-foot par putt to extend the play-off. Heart break immediately set in, as Patrick ended up being the odd man out. His finish, however, did make him the first alternate for sectionals. If one of the seven qualifiers, for any reason, cannot make the trip, Patrick gets his ticket in.
"To play in the US OPEN is a dream for everyone who played. Obviously, that is why we are all out here grinding. Golf is a gentlemen's game, so you won't catch me routing for one of the qualifiers to take ill. I cannot speak for friends and family however. There may be a couple people out there with fingers crossed." -Patrick Nugent
Making the first qualifier spot was quite a statement from the former NWAACC golfer. Nugent bested PGA professional Andres Gonzalez and past US Open participant Casey Martin (currently University of Oregon Head Golf Coach), who finished as the second qualifier. Besides competing against, and beating most, professionals and other aspiring scratch amatuers, almost the entire OSU and UofO teams participated in the qualifier. There were some UofW golfers trying to make the cut as well.
"It was possibly the narrowest course I have ever played. I chose Royal Oaks for that reason. It is not a bombers track. You really have to put yourself in proper position at all times. I only found myself out of position once the entire day. I am very proud of that and it's why I finished the event in the top tier of golfers." - Patrick Nugent
Former Bellevue College golfer, Colton Kleis, also played in the local qualifier but also failed to advance. Grays Harbor College's new #1 golfer (with the departure of Nugent) is Casey Brown. Casey will be playing the Washington State's local qualifier to be held at Tumble Creek Golf Course at Suncadia Resort. Fellow NWAACC competitor, Keenan Fanslow (Olympic College), will also be attempting to make his dream come true at the Tumble Creek qualifier on May 7th.
For more information regarding the Royal Oaks qualifier, go to oga.org