USDGC veteran Phil Arthur fought through a three-man playoff to take the fifth and final spot during a wild ending at Monday Qualifying at the USDGC.
When the last qualifying card was turned in, Terry Gallops, Cam Todd, Brad Ramsey, and Troy Widden were all safe with scores of 64 (-3); but Arthur, Brody Miller, and Arttu Sikanen were tied for the last spot at 65 (-2).
“Who says you need Saturday to have USDGC excitement,” said an excited Brian Schweberger as everyone gathered for the sudden death playoff.
The three tied at 65 proceeded to Hole 1 where Miller’s tee shot landed short and left, while Arthur and Sikanen landed more favorably.
However, Miller announced he wasn’t done yet by draining about a 70-foot hyzer putt for birdie. Then Sikanen, with a seemingly routine birdie putt, splashed wide and missed to the surprise of the crowd gathered followed by Arthur making his birdie.
The race was down to Arthur and Miller, who were next headed to the dangerous island-hole 17. Miller, up first, landed safely, but would need a lengthy putt for birdie.
Arthur, who can throw with either arm, drove a bee-line toward the pin with his right hand and was parked. Now Miller needed to duplicate his Hole 1 heroics to push, but his putt did not connect. Arthur made his short putt and took the last spot.
“I get to keep playing,” a jubilant Arthur announced after his post playoff interview.
After the playoff, when asked why he chose his right hand to throw Hole 17, Arthur replied that since Miller landed a ways from the pin – he knew his right handed shot would finish in line with the basket.
“I felt like he opened the door for me when he played it safe,” said Arthur.
Earlier in the day when the weather was soggy, Cam Todd and Terry Gallops set the pace by turning in 64’s a piece and the thought was that they’d coast toward USDGC spots. However, once the afternoon wore on and the rain stopped more good scores started posting. As the 64 scores started to pile up in the early evening, Gallops could be seen warming up again for a possible playoff. However, Gallops and the others tied with him at (-3) were spared.