Pan and Troy Kelly, another former UW product who grew up in Silverdale and lives in Steilacoom, were the only locals to make the cut. Michael Putnam of University Place, Ryan Moore of Puyallup and Richard Lee, a former UW player from Bellevue missed the cut as well.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — Chambers Bay is playing with the fragile psyche of golfers this week at the U.S. Open.
Cheng-Tsung Pan, just 23 years old and in his first event as a professional, was showing cool calm and fortitude.
Troy Kelly, 36 years old, meanwhile was probably jumping around wildly in celebration, acting like a little kid in front of his computer when he realized at 9:10 p.m. Friday that he’s got a tee time Saturday and Sunday in the U.S. Open.
Kelly was considered done when he finished with a 73 for a 145 total. But as the long, difficult rounds of the afternoon continued, more players fell off the pace. If a 19-year-old freshman on the University of Illinois golf team, Nick Hardy, would have parred the last hole, Kelly would have been done. Hardy didn’t, and his par enabled Kelly and 14 others to move into a tie for 60th and make the cut for the weekend.
Photos from the U.S. Open
Pan might have been another victim of the overt frustration when a triple bogey on the 483-yard, par-4 10th hole looked like it was going to knock a good round off its tracks.
“He’s in a league of his own as far as his mental maturity and his emotional maturity … certainly compared to college kids,” said Matt Thurmond, his caddie this week and his coach at the University of Washington the past four years.
“To be able to bring yourself back to the present, even when you know intellectually that’s what you’re supposed to do, it’s extremely tough to do,” Thurmond said.
Pan had to forget about that triple bogey as quickly as possible, because what was in front of him were eight more holes, of which he needed to play well if he wanted to make the cut.
“It was a great recovery,” Pan said with pride after seven pars and a birdie at the 513-yard, par-4 14th left him with a 72 on the 7,695-yard par 70 for a 3-over 143 total.
Pan and Kelly, another former UW product who grew up in Silverdale and lives in Steilacoom, were the only locals to make the cut. Michael Putnam of University Place (70-77—147), Ryan Moore of Puyallup (75-74—149) and Richard Lee, a former UW player from Bellevue (74-80—154) missed the cut as well.
“I knew it would be a fun couple of days, but I knew it would be a really fun four days if he made the cut, and he did,” Thurmond said. “I can’t wait until tomorrow and the next day.”
Friday, though, the 10th hole wasn’t all that fun for Pan.
“A lot of bad shots,” he said. “I pulled my drive into the fescue and tried to hit it out and pulled it again because it’s in the deep rough.”
He was still 120 yards out, in the rough, and then he hit it into a greenside bunker with a bad lie, etc., etc.
“A lot of bad shots,” he repeated.
He limited it to just that hole, however.
“It’s been awesome,” he said of the two days. “I’ve played so well the last couple of weeks, and this keeps the mojo going so that’s very important, especially in a major. I’m hitting the ball well, I’m putting well, so everything is good.”
Pan is glad to have Thurmond helping him out.
“I’m very pleased to have him at my side,” he said. “He’s always a nice guy, very cool, doesn’t seem like my coach.”
• Kelly thought he needed to par the 18th hole to keep playing. He hit a 5-iron approach from 215 yards that he was worried wouldn’t be enough. Instead, it rolled through the green and into the fescue. He chipped out to 12 feet. “I really liked the way I hit the putt, it just broke really hard to the left at the end,” he said after his round.