The 8th green at Shannopin Country Club, host of the 117th WPGA Open Championship.

Obremski cards 10 birdies in Round 1 of Open Championship
By Mike Dudurich • August 4, 2020

Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.

The ultimate goal of any golfer who enters a tournament is to be the one holding the championship trophy at the end.

That’s always been the way Dan Obremski has approached things and after his spectacular round Tuesday in the West Penn Open, he reiterated that approach with a bit of a twist.

“Every event to me I want to win,” Obremski said after posting a 62, 9-under par in the first round of the 117th West Penn Open at Shannopin Country Club. “I’ve given myself a lot of chances here and just haven’t gotten it done.”

The rain of birdies that Obremski unleashed upon a somewhat defenseless Shannopin was beyond impressive. Five on the front, five on the back with a single bogey on the card. Pretty cool for a guy who had previously seen the course, one time as a caddie, once as a player.

“I caddied for my brother in a qualifier once and I got a unique perspective from that,” Obremski said. “I took notes and it helped when I played here.”

Obremski’s round was a shot from equalling the course record owned by the pro at Shannopin, Eric Teasdale. That mark was set from the blue tees.

While the spotlight shined brightest on Obremski and his 62, the leaderboard was filled with under-par scores. Nearly half of the field, 23 players to be exact, were under par. His lead is a mere two shots of Mark Goetz, who made eight birdies and one bogey for a 64.

Nathan Smith, the long-time amateur great, got in at 3-under par. He shook his head when told about Obremski’s round.

“I’d have to play a two-ball scramble for that,” he laughed.

Mike Van Sickle, Beau Titsworth and John Popeck finished with five-under 66s and will have their work cut out for them to catch Obremski.

When a player goes as low as Obremski did, the assumption normally is that his ball-striking was dead-on and he had a bunch of short birdie putts. Not on Tuesday. Some quick calculation found that he made a total of 139 feet in putts. He had putts of three feet on No. 1 and two feet on No. 5 and after that, nothing was closer than 10 feet.

Obremski was in contention until the final hole of the Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational, before falling to Korn Ferry Tour player Dan McCarthy. He went to Florida after that and won a pair of one-day events. No doubt about it, he’s on a roll.

“The only other time I’ve been that low was in a skins game competition when I got to 10-under,” he said. “I shot 62 in 2013 to qualify for the Greenbrier Classic, too. It will be fun tomorrow because this is a course where you have to think about tee shots and where they have to land. The greens are such that you have to be very accurate, too. It makes you think all the way around.”

Goetz, who will be a senior at West Virginia University, enjoyed his day at Shannopin, just like he enjoys every day on a golf course.

“Competing on the golf course is the most important thing for me,” Goetz said. “And right now I’m firing on all cylinders.” And he is a member at Hannastown Golf Club, which may be one of the most talent laden in Western Pennsylvania.

“Hey when we play on the weekend, if you don’t shoot 65, you’re losing money,” he laughed. “But that, along with my time at WVU, has made me a better player. I figured somebody would go low today and it doesn’t surprise me that it was Dan.”

Tee times begin at 8 a.m. with Obremski and Goetz getting started at 12:10 p.m.

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.