Moldovan feels right at home at Springfield CC qualifier
Adrien Dumont du Chassart and Maxwell Moldovan
Adrien Dumont du Chassart and Maxwell Moldovan

Maxwell Moldovan rode a hot putter and some serious course knowledge to book his ticket to the U.S. Open. While Adrien Dumont de Chassart made a late charge and broke a few hearts on the clubhouse patio on his way to grabbing a coveted trip to The Country Club.

Springfield Country Club is not a long course, but it requires precision, understanding, and patience. The greens are treacherous if a player gets out of position. It was common to watch approach shots roll 20-30 feet down a slope away from the hole.

“I just think it’s so key to hit in play off the tee. It’s not long, but you have to hit the ball in certain spots on the greens,” Moldovan said. “You have to hit it below the hole almost everywhere out here. It’s so much easier to do that from the fairway.”

Moldovan’s Ohio State teammate happens to be a Springfield CC member, so he’s been able to see the course a few times.

“Playing here as many time as I have now, I just have a good feel for clubs to hit off tees and how to get my ball below the hole in the right spot on the greens,” Moldovan said.

Moldovan’s long day started with a scorching 30 on the front nine with birdies on holes two, three, four, six, and eight. The back nine wasn’t as kind to Moldovan, he reached six-under par with a birdie on 11, but then made two bogeys to finish with an opening 66.

After six holes of his second nine, Moldovan and many in the vicinity of the 17th hole encountered a very scary event. A man collapsed from a heart attack and was resuscitated with an AED. An ambulance came onto the course.

“We saw it all unfold. It was scary, some things are way bigger than golf. To see a man down, I’m just thankful they were able to get him back.”

The gentlemen was speaking and responsive, but it certainly was a scary 10 minutes.

It’s the type of moment that could make it hard to refocus and think about playing golf. However, Moldovan didn’t get distracted and parred 16 and 17.

A long putt on 18 for birdie, his 27th hole of the day, had him feeling good as he made the turn.

Then it started to feel like a special day when he drained a birdie on the first hole, his 10th hole. The members that witnessed it said it was basically impossible.

When Moldovan’s approach shot carried a bit too far and the ball carried up about 40 feet past the pin, he knew he had his work cut out for him.

Five was certainly in play.

“My caddie and I were talking, there are so many lines you can hit a putt like that on because you’re hitting it so easy. I thought I hit a good putt, and it kept picking on speed,” Moldovan said.

When the ball tumbled into the hole, his friend and caddie, Jake, pumped his fist and Moldovan was in disbelief.

“It was a surreal putt to go in, especially being in the mix and after making the putt on number 18,” Moldovan said.

A birdie on the second hole gave Moldovan some breathing room at seven-under par.

However, things got a bit nervy as a storm started to roll in. A wayward drive forced Moldovan to chip out on the sixth hole, leading to a bogey.

Then a bit of adrenaline kicked in on 8; Moldovan’s ball went about three yards too far. He managed to keep the tough chip on the putting surface and two putted for bogey.

Standing on the ninth tee, he thought he needed a par to secure a spot. His approach to the par 3 came up just short, but Moldovan dug deep and sank a 4 footer for par.

As Moldovan finished his round, Dumont de Chassart was out on the course dealing with high winds.

“The wind died down the first twelve holes, and then it started storming on thirteen,” Dumont De Chassart said. “I thought, what is going on? Is the ball going to stay on the green?”

Dumont De Chassart took advantage of the low winds, playing the first 12 holes of his second round in four-under par.

A bogey on the very tough 13th hole from a tough spot didn’t cause Dumont de Chassart to get down on himself.

“Then I just rebooted and hit a great shot on 14 and barely missed birdie,” he said. “I knew every shot was important at that time.”

A birdie on 14 had du Chassart back above the cutline. The yo-yo round didn’t stop there, though.

He found himself in a bunker on 16 and he thought he had to make it, he didn’t and made bogey instead.

Back outside the cut line.

By the time Dumont de Chassart reached the 18th fairway, a cadre of players had finished at three under. A par for Dumont de Chassart meant he’d be in a playoff, birdie would all but lock up his top 8 spot and break the hearts of those players watching from the patio hoping for another shot.

“I was in between two clubs. With the pressure I knew I’d hit it a bit further, so I went with the pitching wedge,” he said.

The shot was exquisite. It landed past the hole, touched the fringe, and rolled back slowly to about six inches.

“It looked very good from where I was, but I couldn’t see the pin,” he said. “And no one reacted to the ball, so I was a little confused. Then it was nice to get up there and see it so close.”

Two more amateurs will head to The Country Club next week, a place that has a deep history and connection to the amateur game.

Dumont de Chassart is delighted to have done this for an Illinois team that didn’t finish the way they had hoped.

“This is something positive before I go back home.”

The flight home to Belgium will have to wait a little longer. Dumont de Chassart said he has watched The Greatest Game Ever Played, but has never been to The Country Club.

Moldovan and Dumont de Chassart will hope for their own Hollywood ending next week in Brookline.

ABOUT THE U.S. Open Final Qualifying

Final qualifying for the U.S. Open Championship. Played at various sites across the U.S. on the Monday a week and half before the U.S. Open. There is also a qualifier in Japan and in England. 36 holes of stroke play at each site.

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