Nick Sorkin after holing out for eagle on #9.

Former hockey player Sorkin top qualifier at U.S. Open Local
By Josh Rowntree, Director of Communications  • May 1, 2024

The transition from one sport to another keeps getting better for Nick Sorkin.

The former professional hockey player, who spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, finished at the top of the field in Thursday’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Sewickley Heights Golf Club.

“This is, honestly, probably the hardest I’ve ever seen this course,” said Sorkin, who played the round at his home Club. “I’m very, very pleased. I haven’t been playing much golf either, so I was just happy to be in the mix.”

Sorkin’s strong round was punctuated right before the turn, when he nearly drove the green on the 9th hole, a 395-yard Par 4. His miss into the extremely thick rough — something that doomed golfers all afternoon — ended up resulting in his best shot of the day, a chip in from around 35 yards out.

“A little local knowledge,” he said of the tee shot. “It was downwind, so I just knew I had to hit it at the green and send it into the jet stream.

“And then the second shot, I saw it, heard it and then saw it disappear. That was fun.”

That shot, coupled with another eagle on the 5th hole, put Sorkin at 5-under par. He went even on the back nine holes to hold onto the top spot.

Sorkin, who now advances to a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier next month, has impressed since his hockey days ended. But the 32-year-old from Rockville, Maryland is far from a newcomer to the game.

“I’ve played my whole life,” he said. “Fortunately, my dad was into it, so I started pretty young. And I’ve been playing in tournaments pretty much my whole life.”

Behind Sorkin are three more local qualifiers, including Avon Lake, Ohio native Beau Titsworth, who is the reigning West Penn Open champion. Titsworth shot 3-under Thursday.

“I came into this just thinking that I needed to avoid bogeys,” Titsworth said. “And I did that until the last hole.

“There were just a couple of momentum saving things. I two-putted on (the 8th hole) from the front of the green, which is about 100 feet. And on 13 I made and up-and-down from the bunker and made a 15-footer. That was a big one for me. I saved it there."

Also qualifying are Mike Van Sickle and Derek Bard. Alternates are Louis Olsakovsky and Easton Renwick.

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For media inquiries, please contact WPGA Director of Communications Josh Rowntree.

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 nearly 37,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund and Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.