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Zaback, Goode Among Those to Advance at 124th U.S. Open Local Qualifying

Garren Poirier of Vermont earned medalist honors.

Cromwell, Connecticut (April 24, 2024) – The month of the Huskies continued at 124th U.S. Open Local Qualifying on a difficult day for scoring at TPC River Highlands.

One former Husky and one current Husky played their way to the top of the leaderboard and punched their tickets into U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

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Recently reinstated amateur Zach Zaback competing on his longtime home course put together an up-and-down even-par round of 70 to finish in a tie for third place alongside current UConn sophomore Connor Goode.

Zaback, a two-time Connecticut Amateur winner, came out of the gates strong playing the front nine in 1-under 34 with birdies falling on Nos. 3 and 6 against just one bogey.

“My whole game was solid today,” Zach Zaback said. “I drove the ball very well except for one hole and that set me up with enough short irons and I was able to take advantage. I made a few key putts down the stretch that were the difference.”

Still at 1-under through 11 holes Zaback faltered a bit with a bogey on No. 12 and then a double-bogey on the par-5 13th that dropped the Farmington native back to 2-over.

Now needing to make up some ground Zaback started to play more aggressively as he converted birdies on the short par-4 15th and then moved back to level par with a birdie on No. 17.

“All my birdies were in the 8-15 foot range and I made nice putts on all of them,” Zaback stated. “However, the one that stands out was the 15-foot downhill putt that I made for birdie on No. 17.”

Zaback who played in the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and is advancing to final qualifying for the third time in 10 attempts continued saying, “It’s exciting to advance to U.S. Open Final Qualifying and have a chance to play in the U.S. Open for a second time. I’m no longer a pro but I still love competing and think if I bring my best stuff I can still compete. It will be nice to get back into more action on golf’s longest day.”

Connor Goode, advancing through U.S. Open Local Qualifying for the first time in three attempts, got off to a slow start making the turn in 1-over 36 but found his grove on the back nine. A birdie on the par-4 1oth returned him to even-par and then following a bogey on No. 15 he birdied the challenging par-3 16th before parring his way to the house.

“I think the key to my round was my putting,” Goode said. “I wasn’t hitting it the best but made a lot of great up and downs thanks to my putting. All of my birdies came from solid approaches and making good putts. Often they were bounce backs from bogeys which was big.”

Goode entered play following a successful regular season for the Huskies. The Glastonbury native played in all ten events and picked up his first career victory in October at the UConn Invitational at Greathorse.

“I’m super excited to play in U.S. Open Final Qualifying,” continued Goode. “I’m 36 holes of great golf from playing in the U.S. Open which is very exciting.”

Only two players managed to break par on Wednesday led by medalist Garren Poirier who fired a stellar 4-under 66 to finish three shots better than runner-up and Vanderbilt commit Ryan Downes (-1).

After the round Poirier, a member at Rutland Country Club in Vermont said, “I hit a ball really, really good. I was able to keep it in front of me and I never hit a bad shot.”

Following a good par save on the opening par-4, Poirier rolled in a 35-footer for birdie on No. 2 setting the tone for the day. He did bogey the difficult fourth hole but that was his only blemish as he carded additional birdies on Nos. 5, 6, 14, and 15. The birdie on the par-4 14th came courtesy of a 25-foot bomb.

All in all Poirier, a wedding photographer, described his round as, “ho-hum. It was really boring, really. I just felt comfortable.”

Poirier, a regular in Vermont Golf Association events will try to ride those feels all the way through his second career appearance in U.S. Open Final Qualifying and his first since 2012.

The final of five qualifying spots was earned in a 3-for-2 playoff between 2023 Connecticut Junior Amateur winner and Maryland commit Will Gregware, Jason Gobleck, and Aidan Mcdermott all of whom finished with 1 over 72s.

In the end, Jason Gobleck became the lone professional to advance with Mcdermott earning the first alternate spot and Gregware the second spot.

Gobleck, from Madison, is one of Connecticut’s top professionals. He’ll be part of the Connecticut Section PGA team that will take on the CSGA’s leading amateurs in the Julius Boros Challenge Cup Matches, on May 9 at Shuttle Meadow Country Club.

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.