Winston-Salem’s Ryan Sullivan got a little TV exposure on Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Sullivan, a 30-year-old professional golfer playing in his second U.S. Open, eagled the 14th hole, a 592-yard par 5, when he holed out on his third shot. His eagle put him back to even par, but he settled for a 2-over 73 for his round.
His eagle was aired on tape delay right after it happened on the Fox Sports 1 telecast. It was one of 14 eagles in the first round, the most in a U.S. Open round in 50 years.
On his approach, Sullivan’s ball landed right next to the hole and bounced to the back of the green and on the fringe before it spun back and rolled into the hole for the eagle. He had 89 yards to the hole after hitting two good shots on the par-5.
“Yes, the eagle did land,” Sullivan said by phone after his round. “When I hit it I wasn’t in love with it but it had a nice draw spin on it. When I heard the crowd’s reaction, it was so cool. To do something like that in that atmosphere at a U.S. Open is special.”
Sullivan began his round on the back nine with bogeys on 10 and 12, but he got those back with the eagle on the 14th. He bogeyed 15 and 18 to make the turn at 2 over.
On his back nine he got hot with birdies on 1, 2 and 4, but couldn’t keep up that pace. Three more bogeys gave him a 73.
“I made about a 50-footer for birdie on No. 2,” said Sullivan, “so my putter was saving me all day. My caddie (Marty Smith) and I thought we could get it to two or three under, but my ball-striking just wasn’t sharp there toward the end.”
After his round he spent some time on the range with swing instructor Sean Foley. It was an informal session but Sullivan, who knows Foley a little bit, said he appreciated it.
“He just kind of looked at my swing a little bit,” Sullivan said. “I’m grateful he did something like that.”
Sullivan ended up hitting just five of 14 fairways and 7 of 18 greens in regulation. What held his round together was solid putting. He had 27 putts in his round and is tied for 38th in the field.
Sullivan will tee off in the second round late today. He will try to make the cut for the first time at a U.S. Open. He played in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, but failed to make the cut.
“I need to be around even par for my second round,” said Sullivan. “I think the conditions will be about the same, but I’ll be teeing off late.”
Also, Cameron Young, a former golfer at Wake Forest who just graduated, fired a 4 over 75 in his first round. Young was making his debut in the U.S. Open.