LCA grad Stewart struggles a little early, then settles in at his 1st U.S. Open

Herald-Leader Staff ReportJune 13, 2014 

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Former Lexington Christian standout Hunter Stewart recognizes the applause after sinking his putt on the 9th hole during the first round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

THEOPHIL SYSLO — MCT

Former Lexington Christian standout Hunter Stewart, who just wrapped up his junior year playing for Vanderbilt, shot a 5-over par in the U.S. Open on Thursday at Pinehurst, N.C.

Stewart, who made it into the field through sectional qualifying, was making his debut in a major. Playing as an amateur, he missed the cut by just one shot in his PGA Tour debut in April in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, S.C.

Stewart, while talking about his round, said he got off to a rough start Thursday. He opened with three pars, but then made four straight bogeys.

"It was OK," Stewart said "I did some things well, did some things not so well. I got hit in the mouth on the first hole. I hit a nice shot and it rolled right in the, right into a little bush, right off the fairway and I was able to salvage a par, but didn't really get settled into my round very well."

U.S. Open courses are set up to be difficult and Stewart said he knows what he needs to improve on in Friday's round, when he's scheduled to tee off at 8:57 a.m.

"I was kind of in the native area a little too much and had to kind of finesse it through the grass and the sand and didn't really have control of my ball very well," Stewart said. "I didn't putt well, but I really wasn't in good enough spots to go ahead and make great birdies. So I look forward to kind of getting to play tomorrow and give myself some opportunities."

Stewart, who started his round on the back nine, was 4 over at the turn. He made two birdies and two bogeys on the front before No. 9.

"I bogeyed the last hole and that kind of makes dinner taste worse," Stewart said. "But tomorrow's a new day and I look forward to trying to do some good things tomorrow."

Stewart, tied for 106th in the 156-player field, had company at 5 over that included former St. Xavier and University of Alabama star Justin Thomas, former world No. 1 Lee Westwood and 1997 U.S. Open winner Justin Leonard.

Kenny Perry (Lone Oak, WKU) was one shot ahead of that group at 4 over, and J.B. Holmes (Taylor Co., UK) fared the best of the Kentucky contingent by shooting even par.

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