by Garrett Johnston | @JohnstonGarrett
Joe Highsmith played his first-ever round in the U.S. Open on Thursday at Torrey Pines and shot a 5-over par 76.
The amateur from Lakewood, Wash. unfortunately didn’t have his best stuff on the big stage, but he’s putting a positive approach into play for Friday’s second round nonetheless.
“It’s just so demanding, so any kind of slight mental errors are going to bite you and cost you shots,” Highsmith said. “Unfortunately, I had quite a few of those today, but got a lot of momentum there at the end and I hit some pretty good shots so I’m looking forward to today’s second round.”
The South Course at Torrey Pines is very demanding indeed, whether in January for the Farmers Insurance Open or in June for this U.S. Open.
“The course is just tight, a lot of the holes set up for me to hit my nice little left to right cut down there, there are a few holes shaped the opposite way that aren’t shaped visually well for me but Torrey just requires really good tee shots,” Highsmith said. “The visuals have all been fine, it’s just on me to execute the shots.”
The greens are quite a challenge here this week, firm and fast as expected in a major championship like the U.S. Open.
“The greens are quick,” Highsmith said. “My lag putting was actually very good today. I tried to be pretty tentative on the greens and just ease the long putts down there toward the hole. I’m sure they’re going to keep getting quicker.”
Aside from his play this week, just the vibe of being at the U.S. Open is a pretty special one for Highsmith.
“It’s been pretty cool so far out here,” Highsmith said. “It’s super sick with all these fans out here and the grandstands and getting all of these roars when you hit good shots. The U.S. Open is so cool. I’ve been to only one in my life, at Chambers Bay and I watched in person there in 2015. To be playing in one here this week is just so cool.”