McIver opens with an 82 at U.S. Open

2014-06-12T17:15:00Z 2014-07-18T06:43:03Z McIver opens with an 82 at U.S. OpenGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
June 12, 2014 5:15 pm  • 

Brandon McIver said nerves didn't get the best of him during Thursday morning's opening round of the 114th U.S. Open.

"I didn't feel really nervous," the 20-year-old Billings golfer said. "I just didn't execute, which is disappointing."

The reigning Montana State Amateur champion -- competing against the world's best players in his first Open -- got off to a rough start en route to shooting a 12-over par 82 on the rigorous Pinehurst No. 2 course in North Carolina.

"Definitely a tough day, but definitely a memorable one," McIver said. "It was a lot of fun. Obviously I'm disappointed with my score, but it's a real demanding golf course. Really nothing like I've played before."

He carded a triple-bogey eight on his first hole -- the 617-yard, par-5 No. 10 -- and never completely recovered in making his debut at America's national championship event on the challenging 7,562-yard layout.

McIver, who advanced to the 156-player, $8 million U.S. Open as an alternate, said, at times, he simply "put the ball in some places where you just absolutely couldn't put it" in the hardpan/sandy rough, bunkers and on the wrong side of the pin on the sloping, elevated greens.

"I kind of got what I deserved," he said. "I learned a lot from it. I'm not going to quit. I'm not going to put my tail between my legs. I'm going to go out (for Friday's second round) and play my heart out." 

McIver will tee off Friday at 12:31 p.m. (Mountain time) on No. 1 for his second round. The field will be cut to the top 60 players and ties after 36 holes.

A multiple state champion at Billings West, the 6-foot-2 McIver will be a junior on the University of Oregon golf team in the fall. He is also the first Yellowstone County golfer to play in the U.S. Open since 1998.

The highlight of McIver's first round was a birdie on the 576-yard, par five No. 5 hole -- draining about a five-foot putt.

Besides the triple on No. 10, his scorecard also included double bogeys on holes 16, 4 and 8. He also had four bogeys in tying for the highest round of the day.

"It's a major learning curve," McIver said. "I got a lot out of my round regardless of what I shot. No matter what I do, I will come out of this a better golfer."

McIver, who was shown in action and mentioned during ESPN's national broadcast, shot a 7-over 42 on the back side, which was his opening nine. He closed with a 5-over 40 on the front.

McIver said 2010 Open champion Graeme McDowell, one of the early leaders at 2-under 68, shared some advice with him in the locker room about playing conservatively and aiming for the "fat side" of the steep greens.

"That's something I will remember for the rest of my life," McIver said.

He also mentioned the fact that Phil Mickelson was playing just two or three groups in front of his own threesome.

"It's pretty cool to be right there, experiencing it first hand," McIver said. "It's pretty incredible."

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