Guess who’s back?
Eighteen golfers in field also played in 2011 U.S. Amateur

By ADAM LINDEMER - Daily News

June 16, 2017

American professional golfer Jordan Spieth from Dallas, Texas smiles after forgetting to take his cell phone out of his pocket before teeing off on hole No. 10.
John Ehlke/Daily News

TOWN OF ERIN — Erin Hills is the new kid on the block in terms of major golf courses.

For more than a dozen players, it's not so brand new.

Of the 156 golfers in the field to start the 117th U.S. Open, 18 are amongst the few that have seen the young course during competition.

The most-well known of the bunch is 26-year old Texan Jordan Spieth, who nearly six years ago lost in the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur, which was held in August. He went on to win The Masters and U.S. Open in 2015. “It was pretty brown when we played it in the U.S. Amateur, and I thought it was fun that way,” Spieth said earlier in the week. The other players who competed six years ago were: Byeong Hun An, Christopher Crawford, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Dougherty, Harris English, Emiliano Grillo, Stewart Hagestad, Russell Henley, Stephan Jaeger, Brooks Koepka, Ben Kohles, Daniel Miernicki, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Jonathan Randolph, Scott Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Peter Uihlein. Nine of those advanced out of the two-day stroke play portion and into the top 64, which went to bracketed rounds — Spieth (68-69), English (7367), DeChambeau (73-68), Uihlein (68-69), Jaeger (7072), Henley (66-69), Dougherty (68-73), Thomas (68-70) and Randolph (70-70).

“I just knew they could change the tee boxes around a lot. They have a lot of tee boxes,” Jaeger said after completing his first round as he tried to compare the two tournaments. “Then you just have to figure out your lines for certain tee boxes.” The German, who played at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in 2011, lost in the Round of 32. That tournament doesn't compare to this week.

“It's the U.S. Open, so there's a different feel. It's a bigger stage, there's more people and it's a different style,” Jaeger said. “The biggest difference was the rough. It wasn't a factor (for the Amateur).”

Koepka is one of three golfers tied for second after shooting a 5-under 67. Scottie Scheffler, who played in the Amateur as a teenager, finished his first round with a 3-under 69. The 20-year old, who still has the amateur tag, is tied for 11th.

Jaeger came into this week's major on a high note after he won the Web.com Tour's Rust-Oleum Championship on Sunday in Ivanhoe, Ill.

He won by two strokes, and said he got out to a good start the first two days and had to grind through Saturday and Sunday — a benefit coming into the year's second professional major. He's seen a similar aspect of his game for a few weeks.

“There's no better way to come into a tournament, any tournament,” Jaeger said of Sunday's victory.

“It helped that the greens played fast and firm, so not much has changed for me with green speeds.”

Despite having past experience, it’s not a given that it’s an advantage for those players as the first round concluded Thursday.

“Well, it’s weird, I don’t remember much from 2011. I remember the closing four holes, and then each hole starts to kind of reappear when I go out and play it,” Spieth said. “That was six years ago, and I didn’t do the same kind of homework that I do these days with golf courses.”

“We just started over and went with the information that we were presented early on and then do our work from there,” he added. A lot has stayed the same over the past six years, but a lot has changed.

“It feels like a U.S. Open just walking the golf course and off the course … You know, it’s a major,” Spieth said. “In some ways it doesn’t because it’s a different golf course. It’s a new golf course.”

Jaeger finished with a 1under 71 after the first round, while Spieth shot a 1-over 73.

“I hit the ball phenomenal, just didn’t make anything. And that’s just all it was,” Spieth said. “I hit, I missed one fairway today, which was the best driving round that I’ve had maybe in my life. I had 15 looks at birdie today and all of them were actual makable putts and I only made one of them.”

Spieth’s lone birdie came on the par-4 11th, his second hole of the day. He then bogeyed No. 4 and No. 5 — both par-4s. The rest were pars.

Jaeger, playing in the group behind Spieth’s, had two bogeys and two birdies in his first nine holes. His birdies came on the pair of par-5 on the back nine. He birdied the first two holes on the front — the par-5 first and the par-4 second. He then bogeyed the long par 3 — the 252-yard sixth hole. The 28-year old is pleased with where he stands.

Jaeger trails Rickie Fowler — who fired a 7under 65 — by six strokes. Jaeger was not surprised to see a low score early.

“These are the best players in the world,” Jaeger said. “If you hit the fairways, you can score here.”
 

The 16 others — aside from Jaeger and Spieth — in the field for the 2011 U.S. Amateur and 2017 U.S. Open: (a)-amateur

BYOENG HUN AN 25; South Korea 2011 result:
Withdrew from tournament.

Thursday’s score: 1-under 71, T29th.

First round highlights: Had four birdies and three bogeys on the day. Played the front nine at even-par and was 1-under on the back nine.One birdie came on the 150-yard ninth, a par-3, and another was on the par-5 14th hole.

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CHRISTOPHER CRAWFORD (a) 23; Bensalem, Pennsylvania 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 3-over 75, T102nd.

First round highlights: Began on No. 1. He double-bogeyed his first hole, then bogeyed No. 4. He birdied the par-5 seventh hole, as well as the par-4 10th hole. Recorded a bogey on No. 12 and finished with 13 pars.

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BRYSON DECHAMBEAU 23; Clovis, California 2011 result: Lost in Round of 32 to Jordan Russell.

Thursday’s score: 2-over 74, T82nd.

First-round highlights: Had three birdies in the round, but countered them with five bogeys. Had back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes — both par-4s.

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KEVIN DOUGHERTY 26; Murrieta, California 2011 result: Lost in Round of 64 to Russell Henley.

Thursday’s score: 1-under 71, T29th.

First-round highlights: Began on No. 1. He recorded bogeys on two of his first nine holes, but birdied No. 10. After a bogey on No. 12, had back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th hole. Concluded his round with an eagle on the par-5 18th..

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HARRIS ENGLISH 27; Sea Island, Georgia 2011 result: Lost in Round of 32 to Bobby Leopold.

Thursday’s score: 1-under 71, T29th.

First-round highlights: Bogeyed the par-5 first and birdied the par-4 fifth to play the front nine at even-par. He then birdied No. 12 and No. 14 before bogeying the par-4 15th.

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EMILIANO GRILLO 24; Argentina 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 4-over 76, T114th.

First-round highlights: Had one birdie on the day — the par-5 18th. Played the back nine — his first nine — at evenpar, but recorded four bogeys on the front nine, including his final two holes of the day.

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STEWART HAGESTAD (a) 26; Newport Beach, California 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 5-over 77, T131st.

First-round highlights: Record just one birdie in his round — the par-4 second hole. He bogeyed No. 4, No. 9, No. 14 and No. 15. He double-bogeyed the par-3 sixth hole.

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RUSSELL HENLEY 28; Kiawah Island, South Carolina 2011 result: Lost in Round of 32 to Patrick Cantlay.

Thursday’s score: 1-under 71, T29th.

First-round highlights: Played the front nine at 2-under, with three birdies — No. 2, No. 7 and No. 9. He bogeys the pare sixth. He bogeyed No. 12, birdied the par-5 14th and bogeyed the 15th.

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BROOKS KOEPKA 27; West Palm Beach, Florida 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 5-under 67, T4th.

First-round highlights: Had six birdies, including on three of the four par-3s. He also birdied No. 2, No. 7 an No. 11. His only bogey on the day was on the par-4 eighth hole.

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BEN KOHLES 27; Sea Island, Georgia 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 5-over 77, T131st.

First-round highlights: Did not record a birdie in his round. He had backto- back bogeys on No. 7 and No. 8, then double-bogeyed the par-4 10th and bogeyed No. 12.

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DANIEL MIERNICKI 27; Portland, Oregon 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 1-over 73, T61st.

First-round highlights: Began on No. 10 and recorded one birdie on first nine holes — par-4 14th. He bogeyed No. 3, No. 4 and No. 8. Finished with a birdie on the par-3 ninth.

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CHENG-TSUNG PAN 25; Chinese Taipei 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 1-over 73, T61st.

First-round highlights: He parred every hole on the back nine. Had two birdies and three bogeys on the front. One bogey came at the par-3 ninth.

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JONATHAN RANDOLPH 28; Oxford, Mississippi 2011 result: Lost in Round of 64 to Chase Wright.

Thursday’s score: 1-under 71, T29th.

First-round highlights: He birdied his first hole of the day, but doublebogeyed the par-4 fourth. He played the back nine at 2-under, recording three birdies, including the par-5 18th hole.

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SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER 20; Dallas, Texas 2011 result: Failed to qualify for spot in Round of 64.

Thursday’s score: 3-under 69, T11th.

First-round highlights: Began on No. 1 and bogeyed No. 2 and No. 7. He responded with back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth. He recorded three birdies on the back nine, including the par-5 18th.

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JUSTIN THOMAS 24; Goshen, Kentucky 2011 result: Lost in Round of 32 to Jack Senior.

Thursday’s score: 1-over 73, T61st.

First-round highlights: Played the front nine at 2-over, He birdied his first two holes then had a triple-bogey on the eighth and a bogey on the ninth. Played the back nine at 1-under.

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PETER UIHLEIN 27; Jupiter, Florida 2011 result: Lost in quarterfinal to Jordan Russell.

Thursday’s score: 2-over 74, T82nd.

First-round highlights: He bogeyed his first hole of the day — the par-4 10th. Added a bogey on the 15th hole. He birdied the par-4 second, but bogeyed the very next hole, another par-4.