Local: Memories made for Pavelonis in playing at PGA Major

Looking back on his experience at the US Senior Open with fond memories will not be hard for Britt Pavelonis.

Sure, the Harrisburg native had the unpalatable duty of swallowing the pill that kept him out of contending over the weekend by one stroke, but Pavelnois knows if nothing else, he proved to himself that he can compete at that level.

What's next is unknown for the 53-year-old. Maybe some Monday qualifiers for the Senior Tour later this summer. Maybe even a sponsors exemption for the Ascension Charity Classic at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis September 9-11.

As for his trip to Bethlehem, Pa., Pavelonis will hold dear the time he spent with other pro golfers and possibly more importantly precious time with family.

"It really is a pinch-me moment when you're waiting for guys like Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els to get off the green so you can hit your tee shot," Pavelonis recalled.

"Playing in a tournament of that caliber was just like what I thought it would be. There were more people than I thought might be there, but just being around those pros and playing the practice rounds was something I'll never forget."

As for Saucon Valley Country Club, it will rank as Pavelonis' second favorite, taking runner-up to when he played Brookline Country Club, the site of this year's PGA US Open.

"I played there in the middle 90's, it's been my favorite course ever since," he said of Brookline. "Saucon Valley was amazing. There are three golf courses on the property, but it was set up for a PGA Major and instead of the rough being about an inch and a half, it was five inches. A couple of times Friday, I was a foot off the fairway and I could barely see it."

Then there was the moment when Pavelonis stood over his very first tee shot on Thursday. He vaguely remembers being announced and fans clapping, but he certainly remembers the dry mouth and nerves that came over him.

"After I hit that shot, I walked over to Kenny Jenkins and his wife who came to see me play and I said to him, 'can you believe these people are paying to watch me play golf!'"

That was one laughable moment for Pavelonis, but it probably pales into comparison to when he caught a glimpse of his dad, Bob and how he got around the golf course.

"Nothing will replace the memory of me being in the fairway and seeing this guy fly down the gallery on one of those rascal scooters, only to then realize that it was actually my dad! Just the best and I've got some video to remember it by. It was a great time with my dad and my family and some friends."

And if nothing else, Pavelonis was able to come away with good memories.

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