Just 36 holes separate three Greater Akron golfers from adding yet another bullet point to already glowing resumes.
Green graduate and Ohio State junior Maxwell Moldovan joins Kent State’s Bryce Reed and Jordan Gilkison in the regional qualifier for the US Open.
It will be held at Los Angeles Country Club on June 15-18, but first the three must endure two grueling rounds at a qualifier Monday to reach the third leg of the four majors.
For Moldovan it will be a chance to play in the Open again. For Reed and Gilkison it will be a chance to push themselves into the spotlight.
Here’s a look at what went down for the three to get here and what they’re feeling about the next step:
Maxwell Moldovan knows he has what it takes to reach the US Open
Moldovan already owns the Ohio State record for most rounds in the 60s and is a finalist for the Fred Haskins Award, which goes to the most outstanding college golfer in the nation.
“The more tournament experience you have, the less nerves there are,” he said. “When you’re playing for a spot in the US Open there’s definitely some more nerves than a typical amateur tournament. This will be my fourth time playing in the US Open qualifier, [and] having that in my back pocket will be a valuable experience.”
So will the fact that the former AJGA Player of the Year played in the US Open last year.
He missed the cut by four strokes at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., but picked up valuable experience.
Moldovan didn’t have to compete in the local qualifiers thanks to a top-50 world amateur ranking — he’s No. 29.
He’ll try to qualify out of Springfield Country Club near Dayton.
“There’s probably a decent amount of good golfers there, but I think playing before helps,” Moldovan said. “I picked Springfield because I’ve probably played there 20-30 times in my life. I think I have some course knowledge that others might not have.
“It would be awesome to play there after playing last year. I’m super hungry to get back there after missing the cut. I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for a while.”
Bryce Reed is ready to roll into the US Open qualifier in Columbus
Reed made it to the next step with a second-place finish at a local qualifier at Westfield Group Country Club on May 4.
The sophomore finished one shot behind Zach Mandry to land one of the five advancing spots in the field of 106.
“I’ve been there before in all the collegiate events before and qualified for the US Open sectional before (in 2021),” Reed said. “It was really nothing new to me. It was playing a casual round of golf. That definitely helped.”
Reed played in the second-to-last group at Westfield, so he knew coming up 18 that he could advance as long as he kept his nerves.
He’ll play at Brookside Golf and Country and the Lakes Golf & Country Club in Columbus on Monday.
“If I can shoot both rounds 2-under or better I feel like I have a good shot at getting out,” Reed said. “I need to stick to my game and not think about the pros there. I have the belief in myself. … Playing in the US Open will mean everything. Playing on the big stage one day is a childhood goal. It’s every golfer’s dream to play on TV with the best golfers in the world.”
Jordan Gilkison got it done when it mattered and wants to do it again at the Springfield Country Club qualifier
Gilkison shot 2-under at Westfield to qualify in the fourth spot but knew he had it when he snuck a peak at the leaderboard on 18.
“I wouldn’t say I got nervous, but I was excited to play,” he said. “We had just got back from our conference tournament, and I got off to a good start with birdies on two and three and seven. I handled the nerves pretty well.
“I bogeyed 14 and 16 and that brought me back to even. I usually don’t look at the scoreboard, but I saw I was one spot off the playoff. I thought birdie, birdie would be nice, so when I did that it was great.”
Gilkison will join Moldovan in Springfield on Monday and, like the rest, is ready for the moment.
“My mindset is pretty similar for the tournament I play in,” he said. “There’s definitely some birdies out there at Springfield. Playing in the US Open would be everything. It’s another dream I can check off my list. I’ve been dreaming about playing in major tournaments my whole life.”
Contact Brad Bournival at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bbournival
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Maxwell Moldovan, Bryce Reed, Jordan Gilkison seek US Open spot