Mr. Smith of NH goes to Merion for U.S. Open
Hits the big-time at 2:42 p.m. on Thursday, to be precise.
That's when the young golfer-on-the-rise will march onto the first tee at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., outside Philadelphia, for his first round in the 2013 U.S. Open championship.
'There will be some nerves'
His fortunes took a decided swing for the better a week ago when he battled through wet weather and a field of 80 or so who had advanced to his one-day, 36-hole sectional round of qualifying at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y.
"I'm sure there will be some nerves," Smith said. "But I'm going to go out and try to embrace that and realize they're there for a good reason. It will certainly be a different feeling than I've had before.
Smith was supposed to fly to British Columbia for the first event of the PGA Canada season last week, but instead, after driving back to his mother Lynn's home in Dover and arriving at about 1 a.m. on Tuesday, he passed on Canada to focus on the Open.
"I'm probably expected to be there Tuesday for the pro-am," he said. "It might be kind of difficult."
Especially if he makes the cut at the Open and gets to play on Saturday and Sunday.
As he prepares for his Open debut, Smith has a bunch of folks behind him.
"First and foremost, there's been a tremendous outpouring of support this week, which I really appreciate," he said. "So many people have reached out — family and friends."
There are supporters such as John Gray and UNH hockey coach Dick Umile, who were teammates of his father and plan to be in Merion.
Brad Houston, who played hockey at UNH and graduated in 1966, was the golf coach at Colgate. Years ago at a Friends of UNH Hockey event, he encouraged Smith, then in high school, to come to Colgate and play golf.
"She plays in the women's league every Wednesday morning," Lynn Smith said.
Ann Carpenter, 89, will watch the Open from her living room.
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