U.S. Open: So, just who is Fran Quinn?
PINEHURST, N.C. – Who is Fran Quinn?
With the first round in the books at the 114th U.S. Open, Quinn grabbed the spotlight as the sun set on Pinehurst No. 2 with a birdie at the ninth hole, his last, to card a 2-under 68.
The 3-footer that Quinn dropped at the last moved him into a tie with Kevin Na, 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and Brendon de Jonge. They're three shots behind Martin Kaymer, the leader.
It was clearly rarified air for the 49-year-old who has earned a total of $1,417,718 in his career, a majority of that coming from his Web.com Tour appearances.
“It is only one round, but it's nice to put up the great score the first day,” Quinn said after his four-birdie, two-bogey performance. “But you know you have to keep it going. But having said that, it was a dream start. It was everything that I could want and more.”
PHOTOS: 2014 U.S. Open (Thursday)
See photos from Thursday's first round of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.
For Quinn it clearly has been a long struggle. A quintessential journeyman, the Worcester, Mass., native has only played in four majors previously. Three were U.S. Opens in 1992, 1994 and 1996; the other, the Open Championship in 1994.
The results were less than impressive, with three missed cuts and a 43rd at the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in ‘94.
Next, Quinn has the advantage of playing in the morning with cooler conditions and more receptive greens – giving him a better opportunity to not only make the cut, but to change his life and career.
“I'm not really that surprised,” Quinn said of his best score in a major by four shots. “I have been playing some very good golf. I've been very confident with what I've been doing. I've done some great work with my teacher, Shawn Hester, and it's just – I'm confident and comfortable in my own skin playing golf right now. So I guess that's a good way to put it.”
Quinn also has his 15-year-old son Owen on the bag. With a handicap of 2.9, the younger Quinn was clearly a calming influence on his father. His experiences caddying for his dad in prior professional events and at this year's local and sectional qualifying has provided a foundation for the biggest week a father and son could experience together.
“You get to see him compete with some of the best players in the world,” Owen Quinn said of the experience. “You see what the difference is from playing every day at home and competing at a tournament level and the decisions that he has to make, the behavior, the attitude.”
The younger Quinn pointed to a bad break his father had at the par-4 seventh hole, where his tee shot rested literally in a crack in the fairway, and the next shot squirted straight right and buried in the bunker.
Quinn took his medicine and made a good bogey to keep his round intact.
“It just showed that if you have patience, anything can come,” the younger Quinn said of the seventh. “That was a great bogey and it kept us going.”
For Quinn, this week might be the biggest in his career. He has no remaining status on the Web.com Tour from his past victories and has been Monday qualifying when he can to play anywhere he can.
“I just draw off experiences from when I've had leads before and won golf tournaments,” Quinn said of his approach for the rest of the week. “I was fortunate, I've won four times on the Web.com Tour and twice over in Asia. So there's different times and (I've) won different ways, leading all four days or coming from behind in the last round. But the one thing is is you have to stay patient. And we're not talking about winning a golf tournament right now. We're talking about getting yourself in position so that you have a great day tomorrow and that on Sunday, now we have a chance. But you want to keep working towards the back nine on Sunday.”