brad dobyns

Matt Dobyns and caddie Chris Crenshaw got in two short practice sessions on Wednesday.

PGA Professional at the U.S. Open: Day 3

Matt Dobyns, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y. competes this week in his first U.S. Open Championship. The 2012 PGA Professional National Champion, Dobyns is making his second appearance in a USGA national championship, having competed in the 1998 U.S. Amateur. He is the lone PGA club professional in the 114th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 2.

Dobyns has a first-round tee time at 8:46 a.m. Thursday off the No. 1 tee. His partners: University of Alabama sophomore-to-be Robby Shelton, a member of the reigning NCAA Champion Crimson Tide and a member of the 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team; and Australian professional Brady Watt, who one year ago was the world No. 1-ranked amateur.

By Matt Dobyns, PGA

On my final day of preparation for the U.S. Open, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and went out to play nine holes. That was the right amount of holes to prevent getting real tired. I followed up with rest and returned later in the afternoon. There was an approaching storm and we were called off the course around 5:00 p.m.

The all-clear sounded and I went back out and played six holes. For the past two days, we practiced so much on chipping and putting, hitting one ball, then throwing another ball down and hitting another. This afternoon, I had the chance to finish holes as if I was actually in a competitive round. It's been hard to get to where you know more than I do now.

You can't grasp in practice what the hole locations will be and what it means.

If we don't play well, it won't be because we didn't map it out.

It was another fun day of meeting new players. I played nine holes with Jeff Maggert and Brady Watt, two really great guys. Brady, a 24-year-old Australian, is in my pairing tomorrow. I didn't get to meet Robby Shelton yet, but have read all about him. I did get to meet Robby's caddie.

With Brady at 24, and Robby, 18, they're a combined 42 years of age. I'm 36 and the old man in the group. I think they might feel like what is this guy doing in this? I've been there, like Robby, coming from a good college program (University of Texas) and know what the road is like working to get better in your game. It's fun for me to watch good young players.

DOBYNS BLOG: Monday | Tuesday

I feel my preparation has been good in two ways – I've conserved my energy and did what I needed to do on the course to prepare for the U.S. Open. I looked at the game plan. I'm not coming in here with any obligations on me, or as the reigning [PGA Professional National] champion, as I was when I played in 2012 [at the PGA Championship]. I'm just another qualifier.

Tomorrow's tee time of 8:46 is a good time for us. We are able to avoid any rain going early Thursday or late on Friday. We will play the golf course the way the USGA intended it to be played. I've felt that the course has set up well for me; at least, that's how I've felt in practice. It will certainly take some imagination to get around No. 2.

I think back to the first time I watched a U.S. Open, and it's funny but I never got the sense of what it was like, how big it was, until I actually got to step on the course and watch it live. I was 14, and I got to see the 1992 Open at Pebble Beach when Tom Kite won.

I remember my brother couldn't go, and he got the tickets to my Dad, who took me. We watched Gil Morgan, who was building a huge lead before he gave it away. It was quite an experience to actually see the players and what they were facing in person.

Tomorrow morning, after all those years watching a U.S. Open, there's no more imagination needed. This time, I'm inside the ropes.