Pavelonis making the most of a Major opportunity

Britt Pavelonis doesn't know how this story is going to end, but if the finale is anything like the beginning and the middle, the Harrisburg native is in for a wild ride.

Chapter 1 for Pavelonis, 53, who now resides in Carbondale recently made the trek north to Barrington with golf clubs in tow and beat out 84 other competitors by firing a scorching 69 to earn a qualifying spot for the US Senior Open, which will be played this week at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

At Biltmore Country Club, Pavelonis figured his day was over before it even started after he three putted his first hole.

"It was a situation I didn't think I would find myself in after the first hole, but then I made about three birdies in a row and all pars to finish."

Pavelonis had zero expectations for the week, but added if he had any nerves they were gone after the first hole. He also got a little relief after he learned with four holes to play, all he needed was to end his round even par.

"We had a guy doing live scoring in our group and I asked him around No. 15 where everyone was at. He told me then I was the only person under par. So I knew then, I didn't need to make any birdies, I just needed to hold on and win.

And win he did. Pavelonis is one of 3,100 entries that attempted to qualify and will now be one of 84 people to play in the 42nd playing o the US Senior Open.

He made his way East Saturday and used Sunday through Wednesday to get some course work in.

Prior to taking off, he needed to get some affairs in order and none was bigger than securing someone as his caddie.

"I'll have Jeff Campbell on the bag and he's actually a caddie at Saucon Valley Country Club. One of the benefits of qualifying early was I was able to snag him up. There's nothing like having some local knowledge in an event like that."

Pavelonis is already preparing for heat, but he's also getting ready to take in the atmosphere that surrounds such a prestigious tournament, that will be broadcast on The Golf Channel and Peacock Network.

"I'm just going to try and go out and limit the mistakes and try to have a good time. I'm going to have some family and friends out there. My dad (Bob) and my daughter (Lauren), my wife (Janice), we're all going to have a good time and see what it's like when I get up Thursday morning."

Tee times and playing partners have not been set yet for the US Open, but Pavelonis' mindset hasn't wavered.

"This is pretty cool," he said. "I'm glad my dad will be able to make the trip with us and I'm going to try and treat it like anything else. It's going to be more difficult or harder than any tournament I have faced in a while, but it's going to be about enjoying the moment and time with my family that is going to be out there."

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.