It was a blur of a four-day tournament golf road trip, one that junior players dream about and 96 hours that Aidan Emmerich will not soon forget.
On Tuesday, June 14, Emmerich (Swampscott, Mass.) traveled to Rockaway Hunting Club on Long Island (a perennial AJGA Tournament host site) to compete in the qualifying round for the 74th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship to be contested July 25-30 at Bandon Dunes (Oregon).
Teeing off in one of the first groups, without the benefit of a practice round and after flying in late the night before, Emmerich’s situation looked bleak after a double-bogey 5 on the 150-yard fifth hole pushed him to 3-over par. Emmerich roared back, however, with four birdies and an otherwise clean card the rest of the way for a 1-under 66 (the par 3 14th hole at Rockaway was under construction and removed from play).
After an agonizing three-hour wait to see how that 1-under score would hold up (three qualifying spots were at stake), Emmerich received the news that more work would need to be done – a 3-for-1 playoff to determine the final spot. Emmerich made the wait worthwhile. He ended the drama quickly for his two overtime competitors when he stuffed a clutch wedge to a foot for a birdie on the first playoff hole, a 375-yard par 4.
“I wanted to get back there (to the U.S. Junior Amateur) badly,” Emmerich said. “It is such a great tournament and I’m looking forward to another chance."