(June 8, 2021) – On what is tabbed as ‘Golf’s Longest Day’ Zach Zaback qualified for the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. The two-time Connecticut Amateur champion fired rounds of 68-70 to finish 3-under and claim the last qualifying spot at Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, New York.
The 36-hole day didn’t get off to a good start for Zaback. Beginning play on the 10th hole at Old Oaks Country Club Zaback began his round with a bogey and after he double-bogeyed No. 12 he quickly found himself 3-over only three holes into the day. Zaback then settled into his round with a string of pars before finding his first birdie of the day on the par-5 18th hole to get one shot back. That birdie was the first of four straight that moved the former UConn Husky standout from 3-over to 1-under and right into the mix in a blink of an eye.
Zaback would card one more birdie on the 9th hole playing the front nine, his second nine in 4-under 31 that left him 2-under and firmly in position to earn one of the four qualifying spots with 18 holes remaining.
Moving to Century Country Club in the afternoon Zaback again got off to a slow start with bogeys on Nos. 1 and 4 to drop to even-par for the day. Following a weather delay and needing to make a move Zaback birdied the 8th and 9th holes to return to level-par for the round and 2-under overall.
“[The weather delay] probably came at a good time,” Zaback, who birdied five of the last 11 holes, told the Metropolitan Golf Association. “I strung a few more birdies on the end of the front nine and kind of ground it out from there.”
The back nine was a seesaw for Zaback as he bogeyed the 10th, birdied the 11th, and then bogeyed the 14th. By the time Zaback walked to the 15th tee he was 1-under for the day and hovering right around the cut line.
Fortunately, for Zaback the pendulum would swing back in his favor down the stretch. First, he birdied the 15th, and then he found another birdie on No. 16. From there it was two pars to conclude a 1-under 70 tally that was good enough for a 3-under finish that put him one shot clear of a 4-for-1 playoff.
For Zaback this will be his first major championship. Earlier in the year he Monday qualified for the Honda Classic where he missed the cut. Zaback has previously played in the Travelers Championship.
Zaback will be making the trip to Torrey Pines with former UConn teammate Jimmy Hervol who also earned a qualifying spot at Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club. Hervol finished second with rounds of 68-68. The 121st U.S. Open will be played June 17-20th.
Hero Image courtesy of Metropolitan Golf Association