In his first U.S Open, Mesa resident and product, and former Arizona State Sun Devil Jesse Mueller had a solid performance. He is not yet a member of the PGA Tour, as he has been to the third and final stage of the PGA qualifying school (Q school) twice, but has not quite yet gotten his tour card, but he qualified this year to compete in this year's U.S. Open in San Francisco.
In his first tournament in a major, he was able to play the entire tournament, as he made the cut. After the tournament, he described the experience as "a lot of fun." It wasn't without its moments of worry. "My number was eight-over after three days, which was right on the cut line, and I teed off in the morning." he explained. "I waited for about six hours...That was pretty nerve-wracking."
He did make the cut and went on to finish at 13-over 293, which was good for a tie for 51st place overall. Interestingly enough, that was better than the more well-known and fellow Sun Devil Phil Mickelson, who finished three shots behind Mueller at +16 and in 65th place.
Mueller felt that he "progressively hit the ball better all week." He closed the tournament on Sunday with a one-over 71, his best round of the tournament, which, according to him, he "he just put a few more things together."
Where he would have liked to have done better was the opening hole. "I played my opening hole six-over and I played the rest of the holes seven-over," he explained. He opened on hole one Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. He bogeyed the hole on Thursday and double-bogeyed the hole both on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, he bogeyed hole nine, where he opened that round.
What was the difference with the opening hole? "The first day, I was pretty nervous, but the first hole was just the hardest hole on the golf course," he said. "But probably a little bit of nerves, I guess."
His best moment of the Open "was on number eight, which goes right up to the clubhouse," he recalled. "I made about a 45-footer for birdie in the third round in front of all the people. It was really cool."
Overall, he had 11 birdies, 20 bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys.
He is still not yet a member of the PGA Tour, as he still must go through Q school in October to get his tour card. But that doesn't mean that his play won't help.
He gets to bypass the first stage of the process, so he can go straight to the second stage. It will help, but his Open experience helps him more in his confidence, "knowing that I can compete at this kind of stage," as he said in his own words.
Hopefully he can get his tour card this October and that this will be the first of many majors he participates in and, with greater success, become a golfer that, like his fellow Sun Devil Phil Mickelson, is a name that people across the country will recognize.