Biddle among alternates hoping for U.S. Open spot
BETHESDA, Md. – Alternate plans?
Blake Biddle had them and they included a front-row seat to one of the signature holes at Congressional Country Club.
“Just watching some good golf,” Biddle said, when asked how his U.S. Open experience was going.
Having recently completed his freshman year at UNLV, Biddle arrived at Congressional CC with hopes of getting into the field. As first alternate out of a site in St. Charles, Ill., Biddle knew his chances were longer than long, but what the heck? He’s young, it’s the U.S. Open, and he’d have the chance to at least hit balls – and roll some putts – next to some of the best players in the world.
111th U.S. Open Championship (Rd. 1)
Check out photos from Thursday's first round of the 2011 U.S. Open Championship.
Alternates are not allowed to play practice rounds at the U.S. Open, so Biddle walked nine holes with former Runnin’ Rebel Charley Hoffman and spent time talking to another UNLV product, Ryan Moore. Yet another ex-UNLV player, Adam Scott, noticed Biddle’s bag and stopped by to talk.
“I figured, ‘Why not?’ ” Biddle said, while watching the first groups of the day tee off at the par-3 10th. He was accompanied by his swing coach, Brian King, and Biddle, while disappointed, kept his spirits up.
Watching a trio of bad shots by Ryo Ishikawa, Anthony Kim and Y.E. Yang, Biddle shook his head and watched Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer stroll to the tee box and await their turn. Biddle predicted you would see three classy shots by the Europeans and while it wasn’t exactly going out on a limb – they are ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3, after all – he had it nailed. Donald and Kaymer made birdies, Westwood an easy par.
Rain had fallen earlier, but with seven groups having now gone off the 10th tee, the moisture had stopped coming down and humidity was up. No one had withdrawn and no one was rumored to have been in position to do so, which is why Biddle didn’t cling to dreams of a tee time.
Biddle was not alone. Grant Rappleye was here from Elk Grove, Calif., and Emiliano Grillo had cut short his participation in an amateur to tournament to get here. Alternates awaiting word of someone’s bad fortune, they were sadly left on the outside looking in. Officials had perfect attendance from all 156 entrants.
No worries. Biddle and friends at least had great seats.