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Atwater golfer one step away from qualifying for U.S. Open

Josh Arndt

ATWATER -- Josh Arndt never qualified for the state high school golf tournament, but seven years later he is one step away from qualifying for the U.S. Open.

"I wasn't a bad golfer in high school," said the 2003 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City graduate. "Just not a great one. I shot in the low 80s."

So how did he get to this point in such a short period of time?

"A lot of practice and a lot of hard work," he laughed. "And a lot of support from my wife, Lisa, because I live for golf now. I play all the time."

Arndt, who sports a plus-3 handicap, shot a 1-over par 73 at Hazeltine National Golf Club May 17, tying for third among 150 golfers, to advance to the final round of qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Arndt will now compete in a 36-hole qualifier June 7-8 in Columbus, Ohio, with 50 other golfers in an attempt to finish in the top six and earn a berth in the U.S. Open June 17-20 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

"I think I've got a good chance if I putt well," said Arndt. "My putting needs to be more consistent. Most of the golfers (who will be in Columbus) are PGA Tour players who are not exempt to play in the U.S. Open. So it's going to be tough to qualify."

Arndt, a sales representative for Bridgestone Golf who works out of his home in Grove City and travels to a six-state region, turned pro two years ago. He plays golf "five or six times a week", he says.

Even though he is close to playing with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Tom Watson, Arndt doesn't feel nervous in the least.

"I play better under pressure," he said. "It seems like I focus a lot better when there is a lot of pressure."

If that's the case, this event will be right on par with his liking.

If Arndt is among those qualifying for the U.S. Open, he said he won't be going thinking he's going to contend.

"If I do get to play in the U.S. Open, my main goal will just be to make the cut," he said. "Then we'll see what happens after that."