I may be the first caddy ever to play in a Senior US Open (June of 2015), then caddy in the US Open (Oakmont CC) and then qualify for the US Senior Open (Aug 11-14th). After lugging a heavy tour bag up and down the mountains of Oakmont, I am happy that I will no longer be carrying a bag, but now playing out of one).
Although the US Open experience on the bag was awesome, I am happy to be back with the likes of Bernhard Langer, John Daly and Tom Watson to name a few. My journey into this years Senior Open was not easy, as 90 players (pros and amateurs) were vying for the 2 spots into the Open. My day at Diablo Country Club was a roller-coaster, with some great shots and birdies, along with some nervous moments. In the end, it comes down to the finish in these high pressure 18 hole qualifiers. If you can stay under control, and keep your tempo and rhythm you have a chance at success. But so many things have to go your way when playing for 2 spots, and my final hole was my best, despite NOT making birdie on it. The 18th hole at Diablo is normally a very unique par 5 hole with a row of VERY large Oak trees running down the middle of the hole, and to the right, leaving a very narrow area left to hit a tee shot. From the par 5 tee you are back far enough to launch a ball over the trees down the middle, but the forward tees at 430 yards make it difficult to get over the tree. In my practice round I hit many poor drives, and finally tried a 3 metal, which wasn’t much better. Last Tuesday on this last hole I decided to tee the ball low, and move it left to right, starting my ball at the OB on the left. I pulled off the best tee shot of the day, and got my drive out and around the corner leaving a 170 yard shot into this difficult green. The wind was in our face, and my heart was pounding as I stood even par on the day, and knew it would be a competitive score on this difficult scoring day. I chose a choked down 6 iron and just said to myself “trust it, just trust this swing”. I was excited to see my shot soaring at the pin, ending 8 feet from the hole, pin high on the right. Making the putt would have been a bonus, but a solid par is what got me into this years Senior Open.
The weekend before the qualifier I was in a 3 day tournament in Monterey at Del Monte which played very tricky,and was a great warm up for the qualifier. In the field were many accomplished tour pros like Jeff Brehaut, Bob Gilder, along with many of the top NCPGA pros from Northern California. To get back into the Open is again living the dream,and I will do my best to make my first cut in a US Open. The tournament will be at Scioto in Columbus Ohio, Aug 11-14 so stay tuned for live updates from the US Senior Open.
Next up is the trip from San Francisco to Carnoustie for the British Open, to the Senior Amateur at Fornby Scotland, and then to Columbus Ohio. In my next post I will be talking about the San Francisco City, and how you can help bring back this Historical tournament to its home, TPC Harding Park!!