---- — By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- With a great back nine at the local qualifier, Danville High School senior Robbie Seebold punched his ticket to Monday's U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier held at Woodmont Country Club.
However, playing 36 holes in one day against a field of more than 120 golfers -- including seasoned professionals from the Web.com Tour -- Seebold's chances of advancing any further sank faster than a ball hit into a water hazard.
Seebold will have to wait at least a couple more years until he can fulfill his dreams of competing in the U.S. Open Championship as he shot a two-round total of 158 (81-77) and finished in 109th place.
"It was pretty tough, I mean, with the competition I was playing against," said Seebold, 18, the son of Bob and Rhonda Seebold.
"I was pretty nervous. It was my first time (in the qualifier), and (playing against touring pros) wasn't something I was used to."
Monday's qualifier was played over two courses (Woodmont's North and South Courses) and Seebold was grouped with pros McCuen Elmore and Andy Hansen.
After shooting a 9-over-par on the North Course in a first round that featured eight bogeys and one double bogey, Seebold shaved four shots and shot a 77 in round two on the South Course.
However, Seebold's short game was his undoing and he finished 22 shots behind the eighth and final qualifier for the 113th U.S. Open Championship that is scheduled for June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore.
"It was really my putting. I hit the ball pretty decently off the tee, but around the greens I really struggled. They were really fast and undulating," said Seebold, a PIAA qualifier this season who will be golfing for Elon College in the fall.
"It was nice to see how my game stacked up to (McCuen and Hansen). They were both a lot better at putting than I was, and it's the biggest thing I need to improve on," added Seebold. "Just to be able to make it this far, no matter how I did, and to play with some of the best golfers there are is a great experience."
Despite the low finish, Seebold is anxious for his next opportunity at qualifying for the Open.
Plus, the experiences Seebold gained in the two qualifiers will be invaluable for when he gets his collegiate career underway.
"I'm definitely going to try again. If I do this a couple more times and get some more experience, I think a couple of years down the road I'll have a very good chance at qualifying for the Open," said Seebold.
"I think (the qualifier) really does prepare me well. To be able to play against the best competition I could ever play will definitely help me when I get to college."