By Ron Jasperson
If there was a raffle with the top prize being a round of golf at historic Pebble Beach golfing enthusiasts would stand in line for tickets hoping that their name would be drawn. If the prize included playing a round with golf legend Phil Mickelson who knows what kind of commotion that would bring.
Osceola golfer Charlie Danielson did get to play a round of golf at Pebble Beach, in fact he played four rounds at the 119th U.S. Open. He also played one of his rounds with Phil Mickelson but he didn’t win a raffle to do it. He did it the old-fashioned way, he earned it.
Danielson punched his ticket for the U.S. Open by qualifying in Sectional play in Dallas. He became one of 156 golfers from around the world to tee it up starting on June 13th at Pebble Beach in California. Danielson started his first round with a string of four straight pars before holing a shot from a bunker on the fifth hole for a birdie. Suddenly he was comfortable being among the best golfers in the world. He finished his first round with a one over par 72.
Danielson lost a stroke to par over his first 10 holes of the second day. He was on the edge of the cut line as he walked to his 11th hole of the second round but then banged in three straight birdies. Danielson finished the second round with a one-under 70 to get back to par for the tournament. Most importantly he made the cut which allowed him to play the final two rounds of the tournament.
“It was an amazing experience to make my first cut at a major especially with it being at Pebble Beach.” Danielson said. “It was rewarding to play all four days and see how my game stacked up against the best players in the world.”
Danielson got to see close-up how his game stacked up against one of the best players in the world as he was paired with Mickelson for round three. He played the first five holes at par as did Mickelson but then he ran into trouble on hole-6. Danielson carded a triple-bogie on the hole and did the same thing two holes later. He suddenly went from par for the tournament to six over. Despite the adversity Danielson pulled things together carding six pars, a pair of birdies and a pair of bogies to finish the day at six over.
“Phil is a great guy and playing with him on Saturday was a lot of fun,” Danielson said. “I was able to feed off the crowd’s energy; there were so many people watching on every hole.”
On the last day of the tournament Danielson was paired with Luke Donald. After a bogie on #3 Danielson came back with birdies on #6 and #7 to go one under for the day. He finished the day at one under to complete the tournament with a total of 289, good for a tie for 58th place.
“Patience was a big key this week based on how tough the course was and even more so after my front nine on Saturday,” Danielson said. “I can take a lot of positives away from this week; two bad holes held me back from a great finish.”