Keegan Bradley may have been the most well-known New England native beamed into U.S. Open homes during Thursday’s opening round at Pinehurst, what with the first sub-par nine-hole score (2-under 33) of his U.S. Open career.
That the Vermont-born leader of his national championship at 3-under through 10 holes shared TV air time with Fran Quinn, of the Holden, Mass., Quinns, may have surprised viewers tuning into NBC to check on the progress of the best players in the world. That was the plan all along, though, if the 49-year-old journeyman played well in his fourth Open start.
"At the U.S. Open, you don't know who is going to pop up," Golf Channel/NBC analyst Brandel Chamblee said last week during a pre-tournament teleconference. "Guys that might not necessarily have their (PGA) Tour card, like Fran Quinn who I've played a lot of golf with over the years, and he's a marvelous guy. I've enjoyed Fran. I played many tours with Fran and college golf with Fran."
Quinn, who shared medalist honors with fellow Bay Stater, Rob Oppenheim, in the sectional qualifier in Purchase, N.Y., on June 2 with his son, Owen, on his bag, had planned to play in this week’s Mass. Open, which he won in 1990. But Pinehurst won out for the winner of the 1986 Massachusetts Amateur, 1997 New Hampshire Open, four Web.com events, and two Asian Tour contests.
With two birdies and a bogey on his first nine holes (he started on No. 10), Quinn made the turn at 1-under, tied with Bradley, who made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, and sit just one shot back of a logjam at the top of the leader board.