15-year-old Cole Hammer: I was praying, not crying before U.S. Open
UNIVERSITY PARK, Wash.
Some fears, but not tears. The kid wasn’t crying, he was seeking support from above.
“I always pray right before my round on the first tee,” Cole Hammer said. “That’s all I was doing. I wasn’t emotional or anything.”
There you have it. Fifteen-year-old kids teeing it up in the U.S. Open do things similarly to all those veterans who secretly ask for divine intervention on many occasions, too.
For a while, Hammer’s prayers were answered, because he stood on the first tee — his 10th hole — at just 2 over. He ran off pars at the first and second holes. “I had it going pretty good for a while,” said the teenager.
Then, Chambers Bay flashed its teeth. He bogeyed the third, bogeyed the fourth, doubled the fifth, and bogeyed the sixth. Just like that, he was 7 over and in a struggle to break 80.
“It’s a tough course. If you don’t put your ball on the fairway, some bad things can happen. And, unfortunately, I missed too many fairways.”
The youngster did hold it together to come home in 77. Not anything that will have him near the top of the leaderboard, but he can take solace in the fact that he beat a few guys and learned a great deal. It was, after all, the U.S. Open.
“I’ve never felt that feeling, for sure,” Hammer said. “I liked it.”
Good thing, because he’ll have another shot at it tomorrow.