Buckley turns to Plan C, earns late beginning time at US Open

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Calculus and chemistry have been too onerous. Nobody took him significantly as a baseball participant, both.

“I had dreams,” Hayden Buckley stated, “but those were crushed pretty early.”

These days, the dream is golf. And it’s not so far-fetched to suppose this 26-year-old, whose Plan A was baseball and Plan B was well being administration, may win the U.S. Open.

Buckley shot his second straight 68 on Friday to enter the weekend at 4-under 136, tied for third. He was certainly one of 5 who made it to The Country Club by way of qualifying who now discover themselves among the many high 11 on the leaderboard.

It’s no stretch to say it is a shot in the dead of night for a man who got here in ranked 259th and has missed six of the final seven cuts on the PGA Tour. But it wouldn’t be the primary time he’s crushed lengthy odds.

Buckley’s profession took off in February 2021 when he confirmed as much as the driving vary for a Korn Ferry Tour occasion in Florida whereas it was nonetheless darkish and earlier than he had a spot secured within the match.

“Luckily, I only live an hour south,” he stated.

Thanks to a late withdrawal, Buckley made the sphere. Then, he went onto win the entire thing in a playoff.

That led to his PGA Tour card for this season, and a wholesome dose of confidence, in addition.

“I know from experience what one week can do,” Buckley stated. “I think you see it every week. You see it from guys that qualified this week and made cuts. Everybody is improving their professional status, and I think about that tournament a lot.”

To say Buckley took the straightest path to skilled golf, although? Not true.

His dad performed baseball at Ole Miss and Buckley hoped to observe in his footsteps. But the recruiters didn’t name and “the two local colleges just kind of told me that I wasn’t going to play on their team,” he stated.

“I thought I’d be in MLB by now, but at 5-11 and 150 pounds,” he stated, because the thought trailed off.

Turning to a “real” profession, Buckley pointed towards a well being science main and presumably a job in well being administration. Calculus and chemistry acquired in the way in which.

“I barely passed that semester and knew it wasn’t for me,” Buckley stated.

In a golf.com interview earlier this 12 months, he described himself as “so bad at golf at golf in high school” that it didn’t seem to be a match. He couldn’t break 80. But he stored working at it.

The coach at Missouri introduced him on as what’s referred to as a “2%” scholarship, basically a walk-on. He was the fifteenth participant on a 15-person roster for the Tigers initially. He embraced the underdog position. Four years later, Buckley was a third-team All-American and the male athlete of the 12 months at Mizzou.

Four years after that, he finds himself with a late beginning time on the weekend on the U.S. Open.

“I think once you realize that this is what you want,” Buckley stated, “you just have to go after it.”


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