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Palisadian Danny Wax Takes a Final Swing at the U.S. Open Final Qualifier

Sep 02, 2023

WEST LA - On Monday, a competitive field of 89 golfers, consisting of both pro and dreamers alike, assembled at the Hillcrest Country Club to vie for the top five spots, which advance to the 123rd U.S. Open.

Dubbed "Golf's Longest Day," the two round 36 hole tournament was set under a brisk overcast sky on the recently renovated course designed by Granite Bay-based architect, Kyle Phillips.

Palisadian Danny Wax, a 36-year-old retired professional golfer, was a fan favorite along with 13-year-old Jaden Soong - the youngest player to ever qualify for the final.

"This is why the U.S Open is great," said Julia Pine, Director of Championship Communications for the Southern California Golf Association (USGA). "We like to say it's the ultimate meritocracy in golf. There was a lot of support from the local clubs and the spectators. Someone like Danny Wax had Brentwood Country Club supporting him and Jaden had a large gallery following him. We’ve got 50 year-olds and 13 year-olds, professionals and amateurs playing side by side."

Wax had a strong first round with a score of 70 that included four bogeys and five birdies, putting himself in position to compete for the top five spots. The turning point in his game came in the second round where he closed out on the 18th hole with four bogeys and three birdies and a total score of 71, not advancing to the top five.

"At the end of the day I’m happy with the performance," Wax said. "I think I slipped up a little bit on the last nine and I just attribute that to fatigue. The turf is completely different [from Brentwood], we had Kikuyu [grass] at Brentwood and here it's Bermuda. But I do love this course."

Wax's past competitor, (and friend of 23-years), E.J. Kahn, a Brentwood Country Club championship holder, said he knew Wax was special after watching his "insane footwork" in the first round of golf they played as budding amateurs.

Kahn recalled, "He was also a soccer player and has a strong lower body that helps a lot with golf. It's all about leveraging the ground. He's just an amazing athlete. You have to play 30 tournaments a year to be the top and if you don't play all the time it's pretty hard. The fact that he's here now, shows he's that good."

Danny's father, Marshall Wax agreed and called his son "a wonderful athlete." The elder Wax noted that the years Danny spent playing college golf at the University of Denver combined with "good genes" is what placed him in a league of his own.

Those "good genes" date all the way back to 1911 when Danny's grandfather was tearing up the greens. "Golf is a generation skipping gene," Marshall said smiling. "My father was good, Daniel is great, I’m in the middle - the missed generation." He added, "I’m proud of him. Daniel always has high expectations, he likes to win, and to have fun, he's good at it."

Monday came to a close with Soong not making it in the top five but finishing strong with a seven over par after bogeys on four of five of his last nine holes. UCLA sophomore Omar Morales, Stanford senior Barclay Brown and Liv Golfer David Puig all qualified for the top three U.S Open spots with Charley Hoffman and Preston Summerhays rounding out the final two spots in an early Tuesday playoff.

The U.S. Open will be played June 15-18 at the Los Angeles Country Club.