Yelm’s John Cassidy spent four seasons (2008-11) as a touring professional on the Canadian Tour.
He summed it up succinctly Monday.
“Good times,” he said. “Tough life.”
Trying to make a little bit easier life for himself, he quit the sport entirely last year, then decided to go down another path at the end of last summer – becoming a certified PGA teaching professional.
He might not be playing golf full-time anymore, but that does not mean the 31-year-old forgot how to play.
Cassidy was one of seven golfers to get through U.S. Open local qualifying at Bellingham Golf and Country Club on Monday afternoon.
Buoyed by four back-nine birdies, Cassidy, now an assistant professional at Alderbrook Golf Club, fired a 3-under-par 68 to earn a berth into sectional qualifying – with berths at stake to the U.S. Open on June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Canadian James Allenby, who had never seen Bellingham G&CC prior to local qualifying, fired a course-record 61. The tournament medalist had six birdies and two eagles.
Allenby opened with a front-nine 29.
“It was pretty much perfect,” Allenby said. “Nothing could go wrong on that side. It seemed every shot was tracking at the pin.”
Cassidy found his groove on the back nine. His wedge approach at the 10th hole was to within tap-in distance for a birdie. And on the next hole, a par 5, he knocked it on the green in two shots, and two-putt from 60 feet for another birdie.
At No. 15, he hit another wedge approach on the green, and sank a 15-footer for birdie. He clinched a sectional berth on the next hole when he hit his 6-iron tee shot into the center of the green, and made a 20-footer.
Other qualifiers included former University of Washington standout Darren Wallace (66), and Olympia’s John Eisentrout, who also shot 68.
At local qualifying in Portland, Puyallup’s Derek Barron was co-medalist with a 3-under-par 69 at Portland Golf Club to advance to sectionals. University Place’s Andrew Putnam shot 70, but lost out for a five-men-for-one-berth playoff to Oregon State’s Nick Chianello.