Michael Block, the club professional who won the hearts of every golf fan with his performance at the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill last month, attempted to qualify for this year’s U.S. Open on Monday.
He came up just two strokes short.
The teaching pro at Arroyo Trabuca Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, shot 5-under over 36 holes at Lambton Golf & Country Club in Toronto on Monday, per ESPN, which had him just short of qualifying for the golf major at Los Angeles Country Club next week.
Block finished in sixth place out of 27 competitors, and only the top three would head out to LA for the tournament, which is from June 15-18. The third-place finisher, Ryan Armour, was at 7-under for the day.
Ryan Gerard won the day at 11-under, while Vincent Norman was behind him at 8-under as they look ahead to next week’s major.
Golf fans were rooting for Block to qualify yet again after such an inspiring week at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. where he ended up T-15th for the week. In a week filled with thick roughs and heavy rain that bothered the likes of Jon Rahm and Tony Finau, Block was consistent with even-par rounds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before finally shooting 1-over on Sunday.
But that Sunday was still magical, as he ended up dunking in a hole-in-one with his partner for the round, Rory McIlroy, telling him that it went in the hole as the crowd exploded on the course.
The week of his life earned him a $283,333 paycheck that he got to cash because he is a PGA teaching pro.
Block didn’t have the same success at Colonial Country Club the next week, where he was a sponsor’s exemption at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. He had the worst score of any golfer in the field with 15-over posted over two rounds, which included a tough 81 on Thursday. He fared better with a 74 the next day before missing the cut.
But Block has some redemption this week at the RBC Canadian Open, which is why his U.S. Open qualifier was in Canada instead of back home in California. He received yet another sponsor’s exemption for the tournament.
His son, Dylan, also attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday, playing at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles. However, he was at the back of the pack.
While Block won’t be playing at this year’s U.S. Open, at least he can look forward to playing in next year’s PGA Championship without needing to qualify. Block needed to finish in 15th or better to be invited next year, and he did so with a beautiful up-and-down on 18 to finish his fantastic week at Oak Hill.
The 2024 PGA Championship will be held at the legendary Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky.