Pinehurst News

Lefty and the Putter Boy

A balky putter in the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open cost Phil Mickelson dearly. Perhaps some advice from the Putter Boy would’ve helped.

He was close enough while warming up.

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A U.S. Open Experience…for the littlest of fans

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C.J. Lowder, 3, (left) plays a round on Pinehurst’s Thistle Dhu putting course. | Photo by Billy Liggett

Golf gained another fan for life this week.

Minutes after walking through the gates at Pinehurst Resort to watch the U.S. Open, 3-year-old C.J. Lowder saw his first pro golfer tee off from the 12th. He looked up at his dad, Chris Lowder of Aberdeen, and smiled big.

“I want to do that,” he declared.

And so he did.


Thistle Dhu

Photo by John Gessner

New to the U.S. Open experience at Pinehurst is a 12-hole putting green for children and young teens, Thistle Du. Located between the 13th green and the 14th tee box on Pinehurst No. 2, the rolling green is named for the country’s first official miniature golf course, created in Pinehurst back in 1919 by James Wells Barber. (The name, “Thistle Du,” is a play on the first words Barber muttered upon the completion of his garden course … “This’ll do.” Outside of U.S. Open weeks, the course is open to members and resort guests and plays to a full 18 holes.)

The new version was brimming Tuesday with kids from C.J.’s age to middle schoolers, many of them learning proper technique from their moms or dads.


Photo by John Gessner

“I think this is a great thing,” Chris Lowder said as his son chased putts around him. “It gets children excited and involved. It’s already great that the Open lets kids this age in free. This is a great age to get them started.” - By Billy Liggett

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Pinehurst crews do their own “rain” restoration of No. 2

Most published reports Friday morning indicated the Pinehurst area received about two-thirds of an inch.

That’s not entirely true, at least as it pertains to the 2014 U.S. Open.

Pinehurst Resort Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance Bob Farren says No. 2 took on about an inch of rain in a span of just 30 minutes. Crews began work in a hurry to do their own restoration of the course. The images in the above video – compared to the images on the television broadcast Friday – are startling.

Farren discusses here what impacts the rain will have on play Friday and says his staff was up to the challenge to provide elite championship conditions in a matter of a few hours.

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Video: The 2014 U.S. Open Begins

Daniel Berger calms his nerves – which sure look visible in the closeup in the above video – and kicks off the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 with his tee shot at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2014.

The result?

Right side of the fairway, in perfect position. He made birdie.

It was the moment we’ve been waiting for since at least 2005. And it was special:


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Rickie Fowler has won our hearts

If there was a mist falling among the overcast skies early Thursday morning, it was probably from our tears.


Photo Courtesy of the USGA

Thanks, Rickie Fowler. To see knickers near the Putter Boy this morning, 15 years after the great Payne Stewart triumphed on Pinehurst No. 2, well, all we can say is you’ve won our hearts.



Play well.

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