Penn-Trafford graduate gains motivation through missed cut at Greenbrier
By Doug Gulasy
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Dan Obremski entered the Greenbrier Classic last weekend with the goal of making the cut and competing for the championship in his Professional Golfers' Association Tour debut.
Though he fell short of those goals, his hunger to compete at the PGA level only increased.
Obremski, an Irwin resident and Penn-Trafford High School graduate, shot 4-over-par in his two rounds at the Greenbrier last Thursday and Friday in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. He made four birdies, six bogeys and one double bogey in missing the cut line of 1-under by five strokes.
Jonas Blixt of Sweden won the tournament Sunday with a four-round total of 13-under.
“I'll tell you what: Missing the cut put the fire inside of me,” Obremski said. “I want to be out there. I don't want to be anywhere else. It definitely was awesome, because I haven't had that fire before to want to get there — because I've never tasted it. I've watched it, and I knew, but I never tasted it. I've tasted it, and now inside of me it's like a lion that's roaring that just wants to be there and knows I can compete on that level.”
That hunger brought Obremski to the John Deere Classic Open Qualifier on Monday in Milan, Ill., where he competed for the chance to qualify for this weekend's John Deere Classic. He missed out on qualifying by shooting a 5-over 77 at Pinnacle Country Club, making one birdie and six bogeys.
Obremski, 26, competed in the Greenbrier after winning one of four spots at a qualifier last Monday at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniel, W.Va. He shot a 9-under 62, breaking a course record.
The key was a six-hole stretch on the back nine during which he made four birdies and one eagle.
“That string of holes right there kind of put me in a spot where I (could) almost relax my way in,” Obremski said. “That stretch of holes also just happened. It wasn't like I hit it to a foot on every hole. It was like I would hit a wedge to 20 feet and make a 20-footer that you make most of the time, that you need to make to make a qualifier. I made a 12-footer, another 20-footer, then I had a tap-in, an average par.
“In a normal round of golf, you're not always making a 12- or 20-footer. I was making those in that stretch of holes, and it put me in the best position I could (be in).”
Obremski said he thought he played well at the Greenbrier Classic as well, with his putting and ball-striking standing out. The one area he hoped to improve was in hitting fairways as he said he didn't hit a high-enough percentage.
“I proved to myself that I could compete with those guys,” he said. “I proved that I belonged there, I feel. I handled a lot of things really well. I putted really well, better than I thought I would out there under the pressure. I feel like I handled that pressure better than I expected.”
Obremski, who played collegiately at Coastal Carolina from 2006-10, turned pro before graduating in 2011. In his first two seasons as a professional, he said he played about one-third of the events.
This season, he began playing competitively more often and started posting solid results. He won a local qualifier for the U.S. Open in May at Westmoreland Country Club, advancing to a regional qualifier. In June, Obremski placed third at the West Penn Open after sharing the 36-hole lead and tied for sixth at the Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational.
Obremski said the key to his recent success is focusing on the positives after every round.
“A couple months ago, I decided, ‘You know what, I know that my game's good enough, and I know I've worked hard, so I'm done working on mechanics,' ” he said. “I'm just going to be an athlete, I'm going to pull the positives from every round and just focus on hitting shots and hitting my targets. I think that will take care of itself.
“I don't see myself as any different than the guys that are out there, and it's just what I had to do mentally. It was kind of like surrendering to my skills, just laying it all out there.”
Obremski, who works for his father's speed and agility training business during the winter, said he planned to keep playing until he reached his ultimate goal of playing on the PGA Tour.
He said the experience at the Greenbrier Classic was “breath-taking.”
“I always had to keep reminding myself to take some big, deep breaths,” Obremski said. “There were definitely some big emotional occasions where (I thought), ‘Dang, man, this is awesome. I'm here. I can't believe it.' Even having missed the cut, watching the last few days on TV, I was looking (at it) like, ‘I was just there playing with those guys,' and just feeling like I can compete.
“Going down the stretch, I feel like I wasn't very far off from being up there with the leaders. It's just a few shots here and there, really small and minute. But overall, (it was) breathtaking and an awesome experience. I really can't wait to get back there.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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