Like father, like son: Dru Love cards 71 in U.S. Open debut

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Like father, like son: Dru Love cards 71 in U.S. Open debut

PGA Tour

Like father, like son: Dru Love cards 71 in U.S. Open debut

ERIN, Wis. – Dru Love had just pulled his drive way left at Erin Hills’ par-4 17th hole Thursday, his ball coming to rest on some matted down rough that fans had trampled down throughout the week. He had 190 yards left to the hole with a little wind at his back. Any other time, Love would have hit 8-iron or maybe a hard 9-iron, but on this occasion an experienced and trusted voice told him to hit pitching wedge.

“I remember saying, ‘What? Pitching wedge?’ ” Love recalled.

But Love didn’t argue. He doesn’t argue with dad, especially when dad is Davis Love III, a Hall of Famer, major winner and two-time Ryder Cup captain. Instead, he listened to his overqualified caddie and flew his wedge 200 yards, his ball finding the very back part of the green.

“If he hadn’t been there to tell me to hit pitching wedge, I would have soared it into the grandstands,” Love IV said. “So he definitely saved me a few shots today.”

But Love III shouldn’t get all the credit for Love IV’s opening 1-under 71 at the U.S. Open, not only his first major-championship start but his first start as a professional. Pops may have all the experience, but it was his boy hitting the shots. Love IV made four birdies, but more importantly recovered nicely. He had three bogeys despite hitting three times into the fescue, including once off a shanked iron from the rough while laying up on the par-5 seventh hole.

“I learned a lot about myself, lot about my game,” Love IV said.

He also learned he can compete against the world’s top players. As an amateur, Love IV battled injuries and his results suffered. Many questioned whether he’d have what it takes to compete at the next level. After all, he struggled to crack the lineup at Alabama and more recently finished second-to-last at the Jones Cup, in his native Sea Island, Ga.

Now healthy, Love IV is starting to show glimpses of what could be a promising pro golf career. He’s already got the high standards, saying he was “a tad disappointed” with his 71. (Spoken like a true Tour pro, right?)

He also still has the nerves. It took him a good nine holes to settle in as he struggled to get comfortable.

“I got to No. 9 and was looking down at the green and the grandstands behind there, and I was – I don’t want to say freaked out, but I was excited,” Love IV said. “I guided a wedge down there and three-putted. You know, I know it’s something that’s going to happen. You’re going to make mistakes, but I think that mistake was just a little bit in the moment, and maybe tomorrow I’ll do a lot better.”

If he does, then Love IV will stick around for the weekend. With Father’s Day being this Sunday, that would be the icing on the cake to what has already been a memorable week for Love IV and his dad.

“I think everybody’s rooting for us and wanting us to do well,” Love IV said. “It’s a cool story, and I want to play well for him, and he wants to caddie well for me.”

The Loves did both on Thursday.

 

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