Andover native Rob Oppenheim got a birdie on the second-to-last hole last week at the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. That’s the good news.
The not-so-good news is that it capped a tough two days for the former Andover High and Rollins College in Florida star at the prestigious majors tournament.
Oppenheim shot a 5-over-par 75 last Thursday, June 12, and a 7-over-par 77 on Friday, June 13. He finished tied for 136th in the 156-golfer field.
But Oppenheim did get a birdie on the difficult 205-yard 17th hole, his first and only one of the tournament. He parred the 18th hole.
Oppenheim, who was the Eagle-Tribune MVP for Andover High in 1996 and 1997, had been playing some of the best golf of his career leading up to the tournament. Over the last month, he had a fourth-place finish, to win $26,500, and then played two great qualifying rounds to advance to the U.S. Open.
But after Day 1 in Pinehurst he said his trusty putter wasn’t so trusty on the very fast greens. After getting off to a solid start on the front nine in Round 1, in which he was 1-over-par, Oppenheim shot 4-over-par on the back nine to finish the first day of play with a 75.
While this was Oppenheim’s first “PGA” major, he’s had some experience on U.S. Open-caliber courses at Pebble Beach, Baltusrol and Oakland Hills, where he played U.S. Amateur events.
Oppenheim’s family, including his parents, wife Lacey and daughter Zoey, traveled to Pinehurst to see him play last week.
“I’m really hoping this isn’t my only major. And I have a chance to do something at a course that is kind of suited to my game,” he said.