Date: June 13, 2017
Author: Bernie McGuire, Erin Hills

Ormsby has champs in his corner

Wade Ormsby is doing his best to keep his feet on the ground.

Here he is, on the range at the US Open at Erin Hills – finally ending a 16-year wait to tee up in his maiden major championship.

Understandably, though, it's tough – despite having some of the world's greatest golfers in his corner for advice and inspiration.

Ormsby got his first look at the Wisconsin course today on the first official day of practice and tackling this huge rural golfing estate laid out on the site of an ancient glacier.

Joining Ormsby this week is his father, Peter, and his coach and former tour player and currrent Victorian state coach, Darren Cole.

Ormsby joined fellow Adelaide-born golfer and long-time friend Adam Scott, who at age 36 is just three months Ormsby’s junior.

Ormsby and 2013 Masters champion Scott go back a very long way.

Their fathers competed alongside each other in the 196os and when Orsmby first went to Europe in 2004, he rented Scott’s former London residence.

There was also the scenario of Ormsby, leading the time, being grouped with Scott for the final round of the 2014 Australian PGA Championship in Queensland.

Their friendship has endured for a long time despite Scott climbing to the very summit of the game and Ormsby struggling, at times, to find his footing.

Ormsby and Scott shook hands on the 18th at Erin Hills wishing each other well this week and then after some lunch, Ormsby and Cole spent a considerable time on the range that is also so expansive you could easily squeeze in four or five extra holes.

Ormsby is no stranger to competing in the United States having competed in 2008 on the PGA Tour’s secondary Nationwide Tour.

Now, after recently travelling to Walton Heath in England to put himself through the 36-hole US Open qualifier – and again admire the photo in the clubhouse of Kiwi and good friend Michael Campbell who did the same in 2005 and then went on to deny Tiger Woods at Pinehurst – Ormsby has finally realised what was becoming an increasingly faint dream.

"There was something thereabouts in the back of my mind that I would never get to contest a major, so all you can do is keep putting yourself through the process of trying to qualify," he said.

"I always felt I was good enough to qualify but then you still have to go out there and do it.

"But it is what it is, and you have to keep taking on each week whether it is a regular tournament or a US Open qualifier and try your best.

"It is always one of those things you want to do in your career and … there are only a four a year, so the opportunities are very limited.

"For me, there is really only the US Open and the British Open where I have a chance to qualify, so I finally have got through to one and here I am at Erin Hills competing in a US Open so it feels really nice to be here.

"They say the US Open is the toughest of the four majors, so all I can do is see how the week pans out and just try to plod my way around and really just enjoy the experience and the week.

"Standing here now on the range at a US Open, I do feel proud that I never gave up and it is testimony that if you keep trying you can reach that goal."

Ormsby was quick to single out Campbell for praise and support as he was one of the first to congratulate Ormsby after he had qualified.

"There is the photo of `Cambo' kissing the US Open trophy up on the wall in the clubhouse at Walton Heath, and very much it has been like an inspiration now for a dozen years for those like myself who dream of contesting a US Open," he said.

"There is never a year when I have been to Walton Heath when I do not look at the photo of Cambo and is just shows you what is possible in this game.

"So, it was great of Cambo to get in contact with me after I got through the playoff and get to where I am now this week."

Ormsby said after chatting with Scott that Erin Hills reminded the long-time mates of Moonah Links, in Victoria.

"We both thought this course does have a Moonah Links feel to it – set out on a similar type of landscape with big run-offs around the greens," Ormsby said.

"You just have to try and take some of those run-off areas out of play, so that is going to be one of the strong keys to playing well this week."

What has already been strange for Ormsby is that he has been bumping into other players he recalls competing alongside from Nationwide Tour days which now, of course, is the Tour.

"The thing is I have been playing alongside so many of these guys here this week around the world for a good many years now like on the European Tour and back home in Australia for like the last 15-16 years," he said.

"So it's not like I am overawed being here this week.

"Also, I was kind of picking Adam’s brain out there this morning as to how to go about the rest of the week and things like that.

"There are not too many guys out here with as much or more experience than Adam, so he has been really helpful.

"And in saying that, I have not made myself any big predictions this week, but then it I can work myself towards the top 30 after day one and then see what comes of it, I might then readjust my expectations.

"All I can do is go out there and play my best because I know I can play solid golf. Then if I were to get a hot putter, you never know where that could lead in weeks like this.

"The thing is, this is a US Open and if you can put the ball in play and hole a few putts, you never where that could lead.

"And that is where Darren will be so helpful this week – having him here and just keeping it all simple, and not getting carried away with the occasion."

Ormsby  is grouped for the opening two rounds alongside American Kyle Thompson and South African Oliver Kepper.

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