Strong summer elevates Gielow

Wake Forest senior Brendan Gielow won the Porter Cup in July.

Wake Forest senior Brendan Gielow won the Porter Cup in July.

When Brendan Gielow failed to get through sectional qualifying for this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, he thought he might have squandered his chance to make the U.S. Walker Cup team.

Despite an impressive amateur record during the past two years, Gielow (pronounced JEE-low) was not considered to be a lock for the Walker Cup team.

“I didn’t play all that well in college last season,” said Gielow, who will be a senior at Wake Forest. “But I feel I played very well these past two summers, especially this year.”

So, too, did the U.S. Golf Association. Gielow, 21, from Muskegon, Mich., was among the initial eight named to the U.S. team that will face Great Britain and Ireland on Sept. 12-13 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. His selection exempted him into the U.S. Amateur, where he did not advance to match play.

“My goal the whole summer was to make the team,” Gielow said. “It’s a great and exciting feeling to know that I accomplished that goal.”

Despite his amateur record since spring 2008, Gielow wasn’t high on some early Walker Cup watch lists.

After tying for second at a 2008 NCAA regional tournament, he won the ’08 Northeast Amateur. In setting the scoring mark of 9-under 267 (since eclipsed by ’09 winner Dan Woltman), Gielow became the first player in the storied event to break par in all four rounds.

This year, after tying for seventh at the Jones Cup and NCAA regionals, Gielow had top-12 showings at the Sunnehanna, Monroe, Northeast and Southern. His Porter Cup victory in July preceded his Walker Cup berth.

U.S. Walker Cup captain Buddy Marucci likes what Gielow brings to the team.

“I think (Merion) sets up well for his game,” Marucci said. “He drives the ball well and I think he’ll do well there. He’s a great team player. He has a good attitude, which will be a big plus for the team.”

Not only does Gielow get to represent his country, but he will do so at his favorite course.

It was love at first sight when Gielow played Merion during the 2005 U.S. Amateur, though he shot 4-over 74 en route to missing match play.

“There are a lot of long holes and short holes out there, and the greens can be so severe,” he said. “I think it’s a great course for me. It just seems to fit my eye and my game.

“We all know for the Walker Cup the rough will be high and the greens very fast. I don’t think anyone is going to hit all the greens, so I think the team that is able to get up-and-down the best will have the most success.”

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