DALLAS — Phil Mickelson made history Sunday when he became the oldest golfer to win a major, securing the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island at 50 years old. Lev Grinberg’s bid to make a different kind of history on Monday fell short in the final stage of U.S. Open qualifying at Dallas Athletic Club.
Grinberg, 13, was looking to become the youngest competitor in U.S. Open and men’s major championship history, but he had to withdraw after the 36-hole qualifier was delayed until Tuesday because of weather. Grinberg is flying to Miami on Tuesday to compete in a junior event this weekend.
After shooting a 2-over 74 on DAC’s Gold Course, Grinberg was 3-over through five holes on the Blue Course but he had a short birdie putt on No. 6 when the horns blew, suspending play for a second time.
“I just tried to play my game and see what happens,” Grinberg said. “I wasn’t doing that bad the first 18 but then I got off to a rough start on the second 18. I wasn’t really hitting the ball bad. The putts were just not going in. But it was fine. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend … Hopefully I’ll qualify next year.”
Grinberg was paired with Scott Piercy, who has four PGA Tour wins, and Kramer Hickock, a Tour regular and in this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth this week.
“I wanted to play my game and like watch what I do and then also watch what they do and stake that for the future,” Grinberg said.
Prior to his first 18 holes on DAC’s Gold Course, Grinberg’s father, Illya, said his son had some “red eyes,” because he did not sleep much Sunday night. His first tee shot was striped perfectly down the fairway, but his second shot flew a little long and led to a bogey.
Instead of griping, Grinberg’s tee shot on the par-3 second hole over water stopped inside 2 feet for a kick-in birdie. As he walked to the third tee, he carried a wide smile fit for a teenager.
“That was the best shot I hit all day,” he said.
While Grinberg will not be playing at Torrey Pines in June, he still has plenty to take away from his time in Dallas.
“It was great,” he said. “A positive experience, especially seeing how people warm-up at the driving range, using drills, routines. I really like it a lot. Even though I didn’t get to finish, I still had a good experience.”
He can still think about becoming one of the youngest competitors to play in a major championship again next year. Andy Zhang is the youngest to compete in the U.S. Open, playing in 2012 he was 14 years, 6 months. Guan Tianlang was 14 years, 5 months in the 2013 Masters.
“I hope so,” he said. “I hope so.”