Fan favorite at the Brentwood Country Club was their very own member and once PGA professional golf player Danny Wax who currently holds a course record at the club

The Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) in association with the United States Golf Association (USGA) held a U.S open local qualifying competition at the Brentwood Country Club on May 16 where five So Cal golfers inched their way closer to qualifying for the U.S. Open Golf Championship.

Golfers, Brendan Gonzalez from Orange County, Logan Lanier from Calabasas, Michael Feuerstein from La Jolla, Jaden Soong from Burbank and Danny Wax from Pacific Palisades beat out 74 other golfers to qualify for the USGA open final qualifier on June 5 at Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles.

Fan favorite at the Brentwood Country Club was their very own member and once PGA professional golf player Danny Wax who currently holds a course record at the club. Several members of the club came to support Wax along with his family including his best friend from college Brandon and his Santa Monica high-school sweetheart and wife Toni.

“I’m so excited for him,” Toni said, “I had complete faith that he would make it through.”

“It’s always fun to watch him compete,” Brandon said, “he’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life, but it’s also nerve-racking watching one of your best friends go out there and give it their all. He’s an amazing human being so all I want to do is see him succeed.”

Wax’s victory didn’t come without a hiccup, on the seventh hole he scored a triple bogey which nearly kept him out of the top five. Nevertheless,Wax persevered and tied with Soong to secure his place in the final 5.

“I felt like I played really well except for one hole,” Wax said, “And all I told myself was to keep my chin up, eyes on the horizon, focus on the next hole.”

Playing since he was 13-years-old, Wax said when he faces difficulties in the game, he’s able to look back and utilize the different experiences in his golf career. “I am able to tap into that and channel that kind of focus and use my imagination but also it’s breath, you’ve got to really focus on your breath in those situations.”

Jaden Soong, also a fan favorite as a 13-year-old 7th- grade prodigy and rising star from Thomas Starr King Middle School, competed in his very first U.S open qualifier.

“I felt good about today, I shot exactly what I wanted to out there and have had fun and have learned from the experience,” Jaden said. “I’m glad all my hard work is paying off.”

Missing school for the competition, Jaden-who was accompanied by his parents Sandra and Chris Soong – said he prepared for the competition by watching Tiger Wood’s greatest open shots. His biggest inspiration however, was a personal video captured in 2018 of Kobe Bryant by his father at a corporate Laker event where Kobe stressed the importance of working hard and practicing saying “…If you want to be great, if you want to feel what excellence feels like, you have to put in the work!”

Training four-times a week at the Brookside Golf Course, with his putting coach, fitness coach and a swing coach, Chris said the investment and dedication had “paid off.”

“I’m kind of still stunned,” said Chris, “we’re used to playing against kids from 12 to 19-years-old, but when you’re playing against full grown men it’s something else, it’s amazing to see how he did today.”

“I was very nervous today, but we had no expectations and are so proud of him,” Sandra said, “I mean he picked up a club when he was 2-years-old so it’s all very natural for him. We are very happy for him.”

After the playoff, both Wax and Soong were met with a flood of handshakes from club members and fans who were happy to see a rising star and a comeback golfer make the final rounds.

There are currently 9,693 golfers competing for 530 spots that will eventually be whittled down to 52 golfers competing at the 123rd U.S. Open championship, at The Los Angeles Country Club on Jun. 15 to Jun. 18 – the first time the event will be held in Los Angeles since 1948.

“For something like this, it can feel like a pipe dream,” Chris said, “But you gotta’ dream big and go big.”

Magnolia Lafleur

Special to the Daily Press

Published in partnership with the Westside Current