Will Grimmer makes statement at US Open

A 7-over par day on the golf course? Not bad by most people's standards.

That same round by a 17-year-old playing in his first U.S. Open? It's hard to call it anything but amazing.

Well, it would be if the guy signing the scorecard at the end of the day wasn't Will Grimmer.

The Mariemont High School senior-to-be had his ups and downs Thursday in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. But really, nerves should be expected from a kid who's barely old enough to get into an R-rated movie.

“Words can’t describe what this means to me,” Grimmer said during a practice round leading up to the tournament. “I just can’t get enough of this place. I’m just trying to soak all of this in.

“I know I’m supposed to be practicing, but I catch myself just looking around."

It was almost as if he couldn't sleep. How could he with all the interviews and autograph signings.

He's also documented his Open experiences – the heroes he's met, getting up early for hitting practice, driving the Lexus courtesy car he was given – by way of social media.

The lack of practice and increased sleep deprivation didn't seem to hurt him over his second set of nine holes Thursday, though, as he shot an even-par 35 and put himself in position to make a push toward making the cut on Day 2.

After all, the Ohio State commit has been here before. Sort of.

Last July, a then-16-year-old Grimmer carded a 59 on Pinehurst No. 1 at the North & South Junior Amateur. 

He sandwiched golf's magic number with an opening round 3-over par 74 on Pinehurst No. 6 and a 71 on Pinehurst No. 5 to close out the prestigious junior tournament. He finished fourth overall.

"It's been pretty cool. I didn't really expect it," Grimmer said back in July.

How could he?

He's 5-foot-11 and 130 pounds and doesn't look the part of a golf prodigy.

Grimmer's not ripped like Tiger, towering like Ernie Els or even beer-bellied like John Daly.

Even 21-year-old Andrew Dorn (+9), a 5-foot-10 Moeller grad who qualified as an alternate, looks like a "man" compared to baby-faced Grimmer.

Grimmer is the youngest athlete in the field and he's competing against men twice his size and in some cases three times his age.

But he's also confident and he's not half-bad swinging the club, either. He has hit 11 of 14 fairways so far during his first Major.

Grimmer automatically qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship in August at the Atlanta Athletic Club. He is also a two-time state finalist, finishing fifth as a sophomore and runner-up as a junior.

He has twice won the Cincinnati Division II Player of the Year.

It's not all about his tireless hours on the course, though. Having a great support team doesn't hurt.

Grimmer's caddy is lifelong friend Michael Misleh, who also served as his caddy at the Open sectional qualifier at Springfield Country Club.

“I’ve known him since I was 7 years old. I’m grateful he’ll be coming to Pinehurst with me because, not only do I value his advice, but he helps me stay relaxed and not get too caught up in all of it,” said Grimmer who's also joined by his father Kevin on the trip.

With his support team in tow, Grimmer finished the qualifier 5-under over 36 holes.

“I looked up while playing the 18th hole during my second round and saw that there were nearly 100 people watching me. It was then that I realized that I must be doing pretty well and could possibly be in one of the top three spots to qualify for the Open.”

There's no reason to think he can't do it again.

Neither Grimmer nor Dorn made the cut at the US Open to advance to the third and fourth rounds.

Follow Will Grimmer on Twitter at @grimmer12_will

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