Raleigh's Grayson Murray soaks in US Open

dscott@charlotteobserver.comJune 14, 2013 

US Open Golf

Grayson Murray tees off on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club, Friday in Ardmore, Pa.


— The enormity of the moment hit Raleigh’s Grayson Murray as he walked off the 13th green at the Merion Golf Club on Friday.

Murray glanced up and saw Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott walking up the first fairway that runs between the 13th green and 14th tee.

“When I saw those guys walking opposite of me, guys I’d seen playing on TV when I was growing up, it hit me that I’ve got to snap out of it and play golf,” said Murray.

The momentarily star-struck Murray, 19, was one 10 amateurs playing in the U.S. Open. Murray’s stay in the rain-delayed tournament was brief, as he missed the cut at 24-over par and placed 155th in a field of 156.

Another North Carolinian, Winston-Salem’s Ryan Sullivan, finished a stroke ahead of Murray at 23 over and was 154th.

“I didn’t bring my ‘A’ game,” said Murray, a Leesville Road High graduate who recently transferred to UNC Greensboro from East Carolina.

“There were a lot of bad holes out there. But I just tried to soak it all in.”

Murray said he got on a “bogey train.” . He only got in four holes Thursday due to rain delays, but the first round that he completed Friday morning included one stretch of five consecutive bogeys and another five-hole run with three bogeys and one triple on the par-3 17th. The only birdie of that round came on the par-4 15th as he finished with a 13-over 83.

His second round Friday afternoon was slightly better – an 81 – but he was birdie-free and finished with seven bogeys and two double bogeys.

“It was a learning experience,” said Murray, who earned his spot in the U.S. Open field by finishing third at a qualifier in Ball Ground, Ga., last week. “There aren’t many 19-year-olds walking Merion at the U.S. Open. I did the best I can.”

Murray graduated from Leesville Road in 2012 and he’s already on his third college. He played at Wake Forest last fall, but was unhappy and transferred to East Carolina for the spring season. That didn’t work out either, so he left for UNC Greensboro, where he will be ineligible to play until the 2014 fall season.

“It was two unfortunate situations,” said Murray. “I wasn’t happy off the course at Wake Forest and I didn’t get along with the coach at East Carolina, pure and simple.

“You can’t play well on the golf course if you’re unhappy off the golf course.”

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