WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

June 17 — On the cusp of his first U.S. Open, New England golfer Jon Curran is one confident dude.
Tear it up. “I’ve never been there, but I think the course fits and to be honest,” Curran, from Hopkinton, Mass., wrote recently on hisTeeing off on 18 at Pebble Beachblog, “I’m looking to tear it up.”
Curran is one of several golfers with New England backgrounds teeing it up at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The difference between Curran and almost everyone else is that this is the 23-year-old golfer’s first time playing an Open championship.
Qualifying for the Open was as rigorous a test as Curran has had in his stellar golf career. He won a playoff at a local qualifier in Rhode Island and another playoff at a sectional qualifier in New Jersey.
Hectic. Then life got crazy. He had to find a place to stay; the USGA, which runs the Open, helped him with that, Curran told New England Golf Monthly prior to the Open. Curran’s father and members of Framingham Country Club, where the young Curran got his start, helped him fund his excursion, according to the Boston Globe.
Curran got his first look at Pebble Beach last Saturday, determined to act as if he’d been there before.
“I’m just looking at this as a tournament, something I’ve played in for years,’’ Curran told the Globe’s Michael Whitmer. “I mean, it’s great, it’s awesome, but you can’t get caught up. I don’t want to blink my eyes and the next thing I know be on a plane home, but have all these stories of ‘I saw this guy, I saw that guy.’ I’d sound like an amateur.’’
The fact is, he hasn’t been there before. Curran failed to earn PGA Tour status last year and is making his way on golf’s mini-tours. He made four of seven cuts last year on the NGA Hooters Tour, from which he has banked $3,925.
Just missed. The tenacious Curran believes that just missing Nationwide Tour qualifiers helped him get to the Open.
“The U.S. Open qualifier is obviously more difficult because you’ve got fewer spots compared to seven at a Nationwide event, but those Mondays definitely help you,” Curran told Jason Sobel of ESPN.Com.
“Being out on the Hooters Tour and being on the grind, it’s easy to slip into a pessimistic or negative outlook,” he said. “It’s important that you don’t do that. You’ve got to take the good and the bad. It’s pretty much a sport of failure. You don’t win a whole hell of a lot.”
Curran, however, refused to let gloomy thinking invade his outlook, especially as he readied himself for his Open debut. For sure, he could get used to the perks.
No Priceline this time. “They [the USGA] do an unbelievable job; they set it all up for you,” Curran said in a phone interview. “You tell them when you’re coming in and they pick you up at the airport.
“I’m usually driving to tournaments and going on Priceline [to search for deals] for hotels,” Curran added.
During his final qualifying round, the three-time Massachusetts junior player of the year and Vanderbilt University All-American focused on the golf and not the enormity of the situation.
Biggest event by far. “It’s not only a major, but the biggest event I’ve played in, by far,” Curran said about his final qualifying round, in which he bested PGA Tour player Parker McLachlin for the fourth and final spot in one of 13 sectional qualifiers across the U.S. “All that aside, it could have been a Monday Nationwide qualifier and I would have felt the same thing.
“I felt like, ‘Finally, all right!’” Curran said.
Third time’s a charm. This year was Curran’s third attempt to qualify for an Open spot. Judging by the young golfer’s confidence and grit, it won’t be his last.
“When you keep trying to do something and you miss by a little bit, you can get frustrated,” he said. “You keep trying and it’s not quite going your way, and then you finally make it. Yeah.”
Tweet, tweet. Despite his busy schedule, which has included time on the driving range and putting green and practice rounds on the course, Curran has taken some time to keep his New England golf fans up to date via his Twitter account. He noted he practiceUS Open courtesy card Wednesday with his long-time coaches, Ken Chrzan and Jim McLean. Chrzan is the head pro at the Golf Teaching Center at Juniper Hill Golf Course in Northborough, Mass., while McLean is a world-renowned golf instructor.
“Good sesh with kev and McLean today,” Curran tweeted.
Tee time. Watch for Curran to tee it up at 12:12 p.m. EDT on the first hole at Pebble Beach. New England golfers may follow the progress of Curran and all other Open golfers at the PGA Tour’s website.
Other golfers in the field who boast New England roots include Jerry Kelly (University of Hartford, Conn.), J.J. Henry (Fairfield, Conn.), Ricky Barnes (his dad played for the New England Patriots back in the day), and Sean O’Hair (played on the now-defunct New England Golf Tour).

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?