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Amateur getting some local help at Merion Golf Club

Cal's Michael Kim shoots a 71, with Merion caddie LaRue Temple, a part-time bartender, on his bag.

June 16, 2013|By Teddy Greenstein
  • Michael Kim watches his tee shot at No. 4 on Saturday during the third round of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
Michael Kim watches his tee shot at No. 4 on Saturday during the third round… (Andrew Redington / Getty…)

ARDMORE, Pa. — After he made birdie on No. 15 Saturday, Michael Kim glanced at a scoreboard. The 19-year-old amateur was tied for third at the U.S. Open.

"I wasn't looking to see what place I was in or how many shots back I was," he said. "I just thought it was super cool to see my name on that big leaderboard next to the leaders like [Charl] Schwartzel, [Phil] Mickelson, [Luke] Donald, all those guys."

Alas, it didn't last. Kim's bogey-double bogey-bogey finish dropped him to 10th place, five shots behind Mickelson.

Still, what a round. The Pac-12 player of the year from California, so skinny that former top-10 player Steve Elkington joked on Twitter that he could use Kim's shirt as a head cover, fired a one-over-par 71. And he's doing it with a caddie he just met, a caddie at Merion Golf Club who is a part-time bartender.

LaRue Temple is so popular at the club that people chanted "LaRue! LaRue!" when he walked the grounds with Kim.

"It's cool," Temple said of the attention. "I thought I was going to be really nervous, but I'm comfortable with the situation. I'm walking around like it's a member-guest [tournament].

"The joke when people say [a member] is playing slow is, 'C'mon, dude, this is the U.S. Open.' Wow, this is the U.S. Open."

Odes to Hogan

Ben Hogan used a one-iron from 210 yards out on the 18th fairway in 1950. In the second round, Schwartzel said he hit his drive "about a foot" from Hogan's plaque. He drilled his approach to 15 feet — with a six-iron.

Hogan carried a one-iron in lieu of a seven-iron, saying authoritatively: "There are no seven-iron shots at Merion."

That might seem ridiculous, but Ian Poulter tweeted Saturday that he is not carrying a seven-iron: "Only needed a 7 iron yardage once in 36 holes so hit a soft cut 6. The extra wedge much more helpful."


Rickie Fowler had the best round of the day, a 67, to get to three under, four shots behind Mickelson. ... Sergio Garcia hit three shots out of bounds and took a 10 on No. 15. ... Rather than putting from the middle of the 15th green, Bubba Watson used a 64-degree wedge because of a hump in the green. He chipped it seven feet past the flag and missed the comebacker. "When you're playing with your boys, you do it all the time," he said of chipping on the green. "In a tournament, I've done it about three times." … The gregarious Jerry Kelly blew a kiss to the crowd after a nice drive on No. 5. ... Billy Horschel chucked his ball into Cobbs Creek after making a bogey on the par-three ninth. … Charley Hoffman hit 10 drivers Thursday. Told that Mickelson is not carrying a driver, Hoffman grinned and said, "Phil's not normal."

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