Ben’s Bethpage Blog

Ben’s Bethpage Blog

June 19, 2009

“It was an exciting day at Bethpage Black, one I will remember for a long time I am sure. Your first round in your first major is going to be memorable no matter what you do, but to have the lead in the US Open at any point was quite a thrill.

“I got off to a good start at 7:30 AM with a good two putt on the 12th hole from 30 feet. That is where I started after the end of play on Thursday because of the rain delay.

“I then came back with a 12 foot birdie putt on 13 to get to even par. After a couple more pars, I made a 20-footer on 17 to get to one -under. I heard the roar of the gallery after that putt. The 17th hole has a big grandstand.

“We didn’t have that many people following us until we made the turn, but when I got to a tie for the lead it picked up. I looked at the scoreboard for the first time on 18 and that was pretty cool to see your name at the top of the leader board at the US Open.

“But, at the same time I kept telling myself to stay focused on each shot. I didn’t get carried away and kept playing well. I hit it to within 20 feet on the second hole and made the putt for birdie to go to two under and take the lead by myself.

“I looked at my mom and dad throughout the day and it was so much fun to see them so excited. It was a lot easier to find them earlier in the day, but it was harder to see them on the second nine because our gallery increased. (ESPN assigned a reporter to the group). They have been so supportive for my entire golf career.

“I missed the fairways a couple of times coming in and I paid the price with bogeys on four of my last five holes. It is not easy to get up and down when you miss the green. But, I didn’t make a big number (5 bogeys and three birdies) and hung in there. When you look at the entire round, I played pretty well.

“I am not looking to make any strategy changes for the second round. My main goal was to not short myself on approach shots and I achieved that today. I used a lot of 4-7 irons.

“I will go back to the course to practice late this afternoon then have a little dinner and go to bed early. I got up at 4:50 AM on Friday morning, so I am getting use to getting to bed early. They told us that we should know our exact tee time tonight around 8:30 PM, but I probably won’t start Saturday until after 9:00 AM.

“I know a lot of people would be glad they didn’t have to play 36 holes in one day, which Kyle (Stanley) probably will have to do on Friday, but I would have just as soon gone out again and played on Friday afternoon. The weather forecast is not good for Saturday so it could really be a long day.

“But you have to go with the schedule they give you and that is what I will do.

“I want to make the cut, that is the goal for Saturday. Then we will set different goals after that.”

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