The Post-Journal

Dan O'Neill Is Returning To Golf Roots At Moon Brook

Dan O'Neill developed his golf roots at Moon Brook Country Club and now he is returning to those roots.

The Jamestown native, who has been working for Gettig Technologies in Spring Mills, PA since 1982, recently signed a contract to be head professional at Moon Brook.

He replaces former pro Gene Stevens, whose contract was not renewed.

"When I was contacted, I would say I was very, very interested in pursuing it," O'Neill said about the Moon Brook position. He has been interested in getting back into golf at a course rather than behind a desk.

"I enjoy seeing people play the game, enjoy the game and improve to what their capabilities are," the 1969 Jamestown High School graduate said.

When asked if he would have accepted a head pro's job at another course in the area, O'Neill answered, "Probably not. I've always had in the back of my mind coming back to Moon Brook."

Moon Brook golf chairman Dave Melquist said quite a few candidates were interviewed.

"After a lengthy process, we arrived at the point that we thought Dan O'Neill fit our needs. It's ironic he's local."

O'Neill's contract officially begins March 15, but he and his family plan to be in Jamestown early next month. His wife, the former Linda Stornes, is also a JHS graduate. They have four daughters - Erin (12), Shannon (11), Kelly (9) and Meghan (5).

O'Neill, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert O'Neill, is anxious to get to Moon Brook, but today he is heading to Florida for a PGA trade show. His main reason for going is to promote the Shadda, a bag-only power cart manufactured by Gettig. It follows the golfer via a short-wave transmitter worn on the belt.

Now most of O'Neill's time at the show will be spent ordering merchandise for the Moon Brook pro shop.

"I like the whole diversity of the business of being a club pro to begin with," O'Neill said. "I like every part of it. I like to play, obviously. I like the merchandise aspect, which is included in the pro's responsibilities there, and I love to teach."

This will be O'Neill's second club pro position. His first was at Nittany CC in Mingoville, PA. Before that he was a touring pro.

While spending four years at Penn State on a golf scholarship, where he finished 10th in the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championship three times, O'Neill qualified as an amateur for the 1972 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach. He was the second-low amateur behind Jim Simons.

After graduating from Penn State in 1973, O'Neill played the mini-tour for 1 1/2 years before earning his PGA card in 1975. He played on the PGA Tour for 1 1/2 years and competed in about 20-25 tournaments. O'Neill recalled his best finish was 20th or 25th at the Doral Open.

In 1976 he qualified again for the U.S. Open at the Atlanta CC, but missed the cut. He lost his tour card that year and attempted to qualify again in October of 1977. He missed qualifying by one stroke.

He was head pro at Nittany CC from 1978-81 and began working for Gettig, with the title of golf professional in charge of the Shadda, in 1982.

While at Gettig, O'Neill qualified for the 1986 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills CC in Michigan, but missed the cut.

O'Neill says he has no desire to attempt playing professionally again. He is simply looking forward to being a head pro again, particularly at Moon Brook.

"I would always say that the program at Moon Brook hasn't been what I thought the club should have - the total golf program," he said. "I'm not saying anything about any of the pros that have been there because I've liked them all and I've had a good relationship with them. I think they've done a good job. But it's never quite what I would like to see. I told them (the selection committee) I would like Moon Brook to be thought of as the promoter of golf in the area. When people think about golf, they should think of Moon Brook."

Even though it's a private club, he doesn't want it to be off limits to area golfers, and the committee agreed.

"That's the way I would like to see Moon Brook," O'Neill said. "I want it to stick out in everybody's mind that's where golf can be promoted and you can learn about the game."

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