Of course Tiger Woods is the big story of the U.S. Open. His life has been a modern-day Greek tragedy and if he wins this weekend it would be a real tear jerker. But I don’t need to sing his praises. Everybody else is doing that.
The guy I want to spotlight is Hunter Hamrick.
Hunter Hamrick. He beat the Tiger by three strokes in yesterday’s round. In fact, he beat everybody.
On a day when the world’s reigning Number One shot 72 and missed the cut, Hunter shot 67. But nobody noticed. The media was abuzz over another youngster, Beau Hossler, who shot 73. That’s because Hunter’s first round score was 77, and shooting the lowest round on Friday still left him tied for 18th – looking at the rear ends of 27 other golfers. Beau shot 70-73 to share ninth place – with such luminaries as Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and Jason Duffner.
You’ve probably heard of Beau. He’s an up-and-coming 17-year-old who has a famous coach. But I hadn’t heard a word about Hunter Hamrick (photo above).
So I looked him up on the web, and learned that he’s from Montgomery, Alabama, and captained the Crimson Tide golf team. According to his USGA player profile, he is 22-years old, stands 5 ft. 9 in. and weighs 155 pounds. The player profile says he turned pro this year, but he is listed as an amateur in today’s scores.
Anyway, I don’t know about you but I’m impressed when a kid that age – and that size – shoots 67 on a course that sent Luke Donald packing, a course that left Bubba Watson scratching his head, a course that beat up Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood…
The U.S. Open is notorious for flash-in-the-pan performances, one-round wonders, who shine for a brief, glorious moment and then vanish. The USGA makes sure that golf lives up to its reputation of being a game of skill and luck. The courses they choose and the way they set them up are – to put it kindly – quirky.
So Hunter’s 67 could just be one of those quirky things.
I don’t think he will beat Tiger today or tomorrow. He might not even break 80 on either day. But he did have this great round. And somebody should take note of it.
Way to go Hunter! Fairways and greens!