VANDALIA — While many of his peers have dreams of sun, sand, and water this summer, Butler junior Austin Greaser had other things on his mind on Monday.
Greaser competed with nearly 90 other golfers to earn one of four qualifying spots for the U.S. Open championship at a Sectional Qualifier at Springfield Country Club. Included in the field were several professional and collegiate golfers while Greaser was among the youngest.
“It was a really fun event, and to be in a tournament with the pros you see on TV was unreal,” said Greaser. “I got to talk to them, and it was cool. I enjoyed every minute.”
Greaser began the day on the more difficult back nine. He carded a nine-over 44 but regrouped on the front nine and used two birdies to score a one-under 34. His 78 was eight over after 18 holes with another 18 to play.
He started out hot on the back nine with two straight birdies on 10 and 11, but four bogies left him two over with a 37. The front nine wasn’t any kinder and after a 42 he finished +17 for the 36 holes and in 68th place.
“It’s not like me to shoot that high, it really isn’t,” said Greaser. “I really struggled and couldn’t get the ball in the hole. I just keep plugging along, you have to put it behind you because you can’t get it back. I was happy to bounce back and maybe I can do that on both nines next time.”
Greaser said that the Springfield Country Club lived up to its reputation as being difficult.
“Those greens were tough – you had to be below the hole so you could putt up hill or else you had the chance of putting off (the green)” he said. “I watched multiple guys putt right off the green and you don’t see that every day. They were probably some of the toughest I’ve ever putted on but everyone has to play the same greens.”
Greaser was thankful that supporters came out to the course to cheer him on.
“It means a ton for people to take some of their day to come watch,” Greaser said. “They didn’t have to do that – not one of them – and they did. I know I didn’t play good, but I really appreciate them being there. I can’t thank them enough.”
Up next for Greaser is the Ohio Amateur qualifier. The Ohio Amateur Championship is July 10-14 at Springfield Country Club.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.