SAN FRANCISCO -- It was only a 79, which ordinarily wouldn't be a round to write home about. Even on the difficult Lake Course at The Olympic Club, a 79 is nothing special, nor is it necessarily noteworthy. That is, unless the player shooting that 79 is the youngest competitor in U.S. Open history.
Andy Zhang broke 80 on Thursday at the U.S. Open. He's 14 years old, playing among golfers he idolizes. The kid who found out he was in the field on Monday, then wondered if it'd be OK if he asked players for autographs has a memento to take with him from San Francisco, even though he'll likely be packing up and heading home for the weekend after Friday's round.
For Zhang, just being here was good enough. He was happy to soak in the scene on Tuesday and Wednesday, watching his favorite players practice and playing a round with Bubba Watson -- the same Bubba Watson who shot a 78 on Thursday, just one stroke better than Zhang. The young man was even signing his own autographs while adjusting to his newfound stardom.
So yes, Andy Zhang's 79 is a big deal. And surely, a 14-year-old breaking 80 at a U.S. Open will make many feel old, as well.
You can find a full 2012 U.S. Open leaderboard at USOpen.com.