CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The U.S. Amateur runner-up is not currently in the UCLA starting lineup. The good news, though: That should be a short-term deal.
Devon Bling made the trip to the Bruins’ season-opening Golfweek Conference Challenge and was slated as one of the starters, but he ultimately withdrew before action got underway.
The sophomore instead is walking around the Cedar Rapids Country Club watching his teammates, sporting a black soft cast on his right wrist.
Bling was practicing last week when his ball finished next to a tree and he caught a root on impact on the ensuing strike. That led to some discomfort in that wrist, which he played through in qualifying.
But then a minor slip saw him land on his right hand a little awkwardly, leading to soreness the following morning. He was told the issue was a strain to a ligament in that wrist, and Bling decided it was best to put on the cast and be safe by withdrawing.
“It’s nothing serious, just sitting this one out, making sure it’s 100 percent for the next tournament,” Bling said. “Don’t want to play with it at 70 percent. … My main focus is just getting completely healthy for the rest of the season.”
Bling, who lost 6 and 5 in the 2018 U.S. Amateur final to Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland, is simply resting and expects his wrist will heal pretty quickly. He feels he should be ready to play at the team’s next event, the Windon Memorial Classic (which kicks off Sept. 23).
Regardless, Bling has much to look forward to.
The Ridgecrest, Calif., product earned spots into the 2019 Masters and U.S. Open via his run to the finals at the U.S. Amateur.
Bling was able to go to the Monday practice round at this year’s Masters and thought to himself, Hopefully one day I could play here. He smiled noting his playing the course will come a little sooner than expected.
He plans to have his brother, Dillon, caddieing for him at the Masters and thinks he’ll put UCLA assistant coach Andrew Larkin on the bag for the U.S. Open.
Smart, as Larkin was his caddie in his U.S. Amateur run at Pebble Beach – the site of the 2019 U.S. Open.
That tournament will be another home game for Bling. But imagining life at Augusta next year is even sweeter.
“My dad will be on the side watching, my brother on the bag, me playing: It can’t be any better than that,” Bling said. “It’s a dream come true.”