When Brandon Brown won the NGA Tour's Cherry Blossom Classic in Georgetown in front of family and friends last month, he called it a dream come true.
A couple weeks later, Brown qualified for the U.S. Open and had to pinch himself again to make sure he wasn't playing fantasy golf.
It is indeed reality: Brown is playing in the 113th U.S. Open at Merion this week.
"Oh, wow, words can't describe it," he said. "Any time one of the majors is on TV, I definitely tune in and watch. To think I'll be inside the ropes playing this week, it's a dream come true. Definitely the coolest thing I've ever done in golf."
Brown, 30, has had lots of success (seven victories) on the National Golf Association Tour the last few years and hopes it will be a stepping stone to the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour.
He looks at friend Ted Potter, an NGA Tour alumnus who won the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic as a rookie last year, as an example of someone who has climbed the ladder he's on now.
"The NGA Tour isn't nearly as tough as the PGA Tour, but you've still got to go out and shoot low numbers," Brown said. "It's definitely been a confidence booster for me."
Brown qualified for the PGA Tour's Reno-Tahoe Open last year, so he has that experience to draw on heading into the U.S. Open.
"I'm glad I played in Reno so maybe this week won't be so overwhelming," he said.
The former Shelby County and Eastern Kentucky University standout planned to play a practice round with Josh Teater at Merion early this week and get acclimated to the atmosphere of a major championship.
As for expectations, Brown said his main goal is "to go out and have fun. I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I have nothing to lose."
But Brown also realizes he has a lot to gain.
"I've been playing a lot of good golf, and I'll try to ride it out.
"A lot of people have been telling me it can be done. John Daly was a guy who qualified and won (the PGA Championship in 1991). Ben Curtis had never won on tour but he went out and won the British Open (in 2003).
"Hopefully I can go out, play with a lot of confidence, and who knows, maybe change my life."
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.