'It was surreal': Stark Amateur champion Maxwell Moldovan reflects on his first U.S. Open

Mike Popovich
The Repository
Maxwell Moldovan won three collegiate events for Ohio State this year.

UNIONTOWN — The only disappointing thing was the result.

When Maxwell Moldovan looks at the big picture, though, he realizes his first U.S. Open is a memory that will last a lifetime.

Moldovan played in golf's third major of 2022 last month in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Green High School graduate and Ohio State junior missed the weekend cut. Still, it was an experience he will never forget.

"It was surreal," Moldovan said Sunday after he won his third Stark Amateur Championship. "I've been telling people it went by faster than I was hoping for, but I felt like I did a good job of trying to soak it in and enjoy every minute of it."

Maxwell Moldovan plays his shot from the 14th green during the first round of this year's U.S. Open.

Moldovan qualified for the U.S. Open earlier in June at a sectional qualifying event in Springfield. He tied for third with a 36-hole score of 135, good for 5-under-par. The top eight finishers qualified.

Moldovan shot rounds of 75 and 72 at the U.S. Open, missing the cut by four strokes.

"I didn't play as well as I hoped going into the week, but I learned a lot," Moldovan said. "When I'm playing well, I feel like I can compete with those guys."

Moldovan quickly became a fan favorite with Boston-area spectators. He wore a Jayson Tatum Celtics jersey during a practice round hours before Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

During his practice round, Moldovan played with 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, the world's No. 1-ranked player.

"I look up to him as a golfer and as a man," Moldovan said. "He talks about his faith in God a lot, which is something I try to do, too. To get to play with a guy I look up to and want to model my career after was really cool."

Moldovan also played with Patrick Reed, who joined the newly formed LIV Golf tour this year.

"He doesn't have the greatest reputation worldwide, but I actually had a really good time playing with him," Moldovan said. "He went out of his way to talk to me and my family. I thought it was really cool to play with him, too."

Moldovan is 31st in the latest world amateur rankings. He won three collegiate events with Ohio State this year and tied for third in this month's North and South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst. His Stark Amateur title was his third in four years.

Moldovan already has his sights set on playing in another U.S. Open.

"The experience was huge," Moldovan said. "I'm really motivated to get back on that stage as soon I can."

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