Luis Gagne, a rising senior at LSU, could not believe his good fortune. He was overjoyed just to be in the field and was even happier about having shot a respectable 3-over-par 73. “I mean, honestly, it’s unreal. I’m at a loss for words,” he said, mindful that he was lucky to get here with the help of a coin flip.
At a local qualifier in Florida, both he and Christian DiMarco (son of former Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco) were disappointed with their finishes. Having been among the first to play, they saw that others were doing better than they did, so they both left before the competition was over. It turned out that other golfers faltered and Gagne and DiMarco tied for the last berth in the next round. Because neither was present, officials determined the final qualifying spot by the old heads-or-tails.
Gagne won the flip and advanced to the sectional round, where he played his way to Shinnecock Hills. On Thursday, he was tied for low amateur with Will Grimmer. “I think I handled myself very well,” he said, “but there’s always room for improvement.”
The Last Nine Players to Shoot 90 or Worse in a U.S. Open Round
(In reverse chronological order)
Scott Gregory, 2018, Shinnecock Hills 92
Felix Casas, 2002, Bethpage Black92
Mike Davis, 1992, Pebble Beach92
Jonathon Yarian, 1989, Oak Hill90
Bob Smith, 1982, Pebble Beach91
Doug Tewell, 1982, Pebble Beach90
Mike Atkins, 1979, Inverness90
John Baker, 1972, Pebble Beach90
Steve Cole, 1972, Pebble Beach93
Birdies and bogeys
Eagle: Dean Burmester finished with a 2 on the par-4 18th and celebrated by tossing his ball into the bleachers.
Bogey: There was absolutely no boost from the New York support that Phil Mickelson always receives. Also, not cool that he and several other top players declined to discuss their bad rounds.
Birdie: A benefit of all of the tree removal that has been done at Shinnecock Hills since 2004 is that the classic clubhouse is even more visible from all over the course.
Double Bogey: Two lanes were closed on Route 27 because of an accident Thursday afternoon, which was the last thing the congested road needed.