Kevin Phelan Indahouse
Waterford amateur Kevin Phelan killed the time before his late afternoon US Open debut on Thursday by watching “Ali G Indahouse”.
His opening round turned out to be a bit of a horror movie as he shot a 12 over par 83.
But the 19 year old Florida resident was still upbeat about the experience and pleased that organisers heeded his wishes when he was announced on the first tee.
“They said: ‘Kevin Phelan, Waterford, Ireland.’ I was happy with that,” Phelan said with a grin.
“It was a tough day and the greens were very bumpy towards the end. Fast and bumpy. I had to try and hit them firm but then they could go a few feet past as well.
“But I enjoyed the day. You can’t not enjoy it out here. Obviously I wish I could have played a bit better but what can I do.
“Hitting the greens was just really tough. If you tried to land it on the front the ball was still running off the back and the edges.”
Phelan was determined to go out yesterday and round off his dream week by giving it 100 percent.
He’s learned a lot this week after practice rounds with the likes of Jim Furyk, Ricky Barnes, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen.
“They all said the same thing - just to go out and play my own game and not focus on everything else that was going on.
“I learned a lot, especially about patience. They were all so patient out there. If you hit a couple of bad shots you have to just move on and do the best you can.”
Watson on the money
Tom Watson was right when he said that the 17th hole would be key this week.
The 208-yard par three was the toughest hole on the course in the first round with the field taking an average of 3.577 blows to get the ball in the hole. Just 32 players in the 156-strong field managed to find the green in regulation.
The easiest hole was the par-five sixth which yielded one eagle, 68 birdies and just one double bogey.
USGA not seeing red over greens
Tiger Woods ripped into the greens at Pebble Beach after taking 34 putts and failing to make a birdie in his first round
“The greens are just awful,” Woods moaned after a round that featured two three putts. “You can’t leave yourself a second putt out here, they’re just not very good.”
The USGA responded with a news conference, where the man who set up the course defended Pebble Beach without directly criticising Woods.
“He’s a great competitor. I really took it that he hit some putts, and maybe they bounced, and he wasn’t obviously wasn’t pleased about that, and I kind of just took it for what it’s worth,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competition.
“It certainly wasn’t a personal assault against me or the setup — and I hope the Pebble Beach Company doesn’t take it that way.
“I just kind of read it that, hey, it got tough out there at the end, there were fast greens and they got a little bumpy at the end.
“And he is a competitor and he really did, I think, strike the ball well today and he just didn’t score as well as he wanted.”
Sting in the tail
American amateur Morgan Hoffman was in no mood for keeping mementos after taking a nine on the par five 18th at Pebble Beach.
The Oklahoma State player threw his ball into Stillwater Cove in disgust (he’d already hit two balls into the Pacific) as he went from level par to a four over 75 in the opening round.
“I felt like Tin Cup, honestly,” Hoffman said. “Eighteen is my favorite hole on the golf course. I was looking forward to it all day.”