Two Friends Channel watches Francis Ouimet at the US Open

Two Friends Channel watches Francis Ouimet at the US Open

BROOKLINE, Mass. – The golf ball was buried in the bunker behind the greenery, and Drew Cohen thought to himself: “He is in prison. He will have to shoot a bunker shot of his life. ”

Cohen, a longtime friend and full-time assistant to amateur golfer Michael Thorbjornsen, then followed him for a foot in the hole. Thorbjornsen was tied and then flew into the next hole, and the two made it to the 2022 US Open on June 6, surviving the eight-man qualifying round for three places in Purchase, NY.

The couple soon landed at Country Club on the outskirts of Boston and hit a commercial building in addition to a golf course. There, they received matching shirts depicting the 1913 US Open champion Francis Owimet and his assistant, Eddie Lowry.

“We saw them and said,‘ Hey? Why aren’t we? “Let’s make our own history,” Cohen said Tuesday after crossing the Country Club’s top nine with Collin Morikawa and Nick Dunlap, winners of the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur Championships, along with Thorbjornsen.

This date does what Stanford University star Thorbjornsen Ouimet did: win the U.S. Open at the Country Club as a 20-year-old amateur. Both entered their tournaments as Massachusetts Amateur champions.

“I think,” Cohen said, “he has a chance to run this week.”

Cohen and Thorbjornsen have been close friends since their first meeting in high school. Thorbjornsen followed Cohen when he left Massachusetts, Wellesley, around Boston, to work on a game of golf at the IMG Academy in Florida after graduating from high school. While Thorbjornsen remained for three years, Cohen remained for only one year.

“Drew was a good golfer,” said his mother, Lisa Goldberg. “He was just not Michael-good.”

Cohen also missed hockey. When Thorbjornsen returned to Wellesley to graduate from high school, he was convinced that his friend Cohen, the university’s boys’ hockey captain, had been appointed team manager.

But thanks to golf, their garden became even stronger. Cohen started cadding for Thorbjornsen last summer and good things happened. Thorbjornsen won the Western Amateur in July 2021. He advanced to the 32nd round of the US Amateur.

This summer, Cohen, a young man rising to the University of Wisconsin, had a choice: He could take an internship at an investment bank or take a walking course with Thorbjornsen. With the blessing of his mother, he chose the latter.

“I told him he had plenty of time to sit at the table,” Goldberg said. “Go for it.”

It was good for Thorbjornsen.

“He knows me like everyone else,” Thorbjornsen said. “As a man and a golfer. He knows when he will leave me alone and when he will say something. “

On Thursday morning, the two will be in the first game where Thorbjornsen is scheduled to shoot one of the first shots of the 2022 US Open, according to local ties. Another Massachusetts player, Fran Quinn, the oldest player in the tournament at the age of 57, will start the 10th game at the same time.

Thorbjornsen played in a 2019 U.S. Open tournament at Pebble Beach, California, where he crossed paths. Cohen was not in his bag that week.

“He needs a professional,” Cohen said. “We were both 17 years old. Can you imagine?”

That tournament was Thorbjornsen’s next party in terms of national attention. He started playing golf at the age of 2, participated in national tournaments at the age of 6 and won at the age of 10. He had a great teenage career before receiving a scholarship to Stanford.

“Michael has always had excellent hand-eye coordination,” said his father, Thorbjorn. Over the years, Thorbjornsen’s eldest son has been living in Rockland, Mass., About 30 miles from Wellesley on a daily basis. They often returned home before midnight.

“He had to do his homework in the car,” said Ted Thorbjornsen. “All the teachers would be crazy,” he said. But all this time I think this kid is smart and you will never be able to go back in time.

The father and son had not seen each other for three years before this week, partly due to a coronavirus pandemic. Michael Thorbjornsen’s parents are divorced and Ted lives in Abu Dhabi. However, the two men kept in touch frequently during this time, with Michael sending his golf videos to his father and Ted criticizing them.

“Of course there’s a normal friction between father and son,” Ted said, “but never from golf. It’s a kind of code language we have. He never argues. He trusts me.”

He also trusts his colleague.

“It’s the calm of Drew Michael’s storm,” Goldberg said, who placed the two at his home in Wellesley last week before moving to a hotel for the tournament.

Cohen and Thorbjornsen will be in Connecticut for the Travelers’ Championship next week. Thorbjornsen extended his invitation to the tournament after qualifying for the US Open. The two will then travel to Scotland for the qualifying round of the British Open, Switzerland for the Arnold Palmer Cup and possibly Greece for a break. Then come the two big amateur tournaments in August – Western and American Amateur.

Thorbjornsen said he plans to return to Stanford for a younger year. The cardinal had a disappointing season last year, but Thorbjornsen warned, “Pay attention to us next year!”

This does not mean that he does not pay attention to what is right in front of him.

On Tuesday, he asked Morikawa questions about life on the PGA Tour. Morikawa, who has only been a professional since 2019, said the amateur experience at such an event could be “great”.

Morikawa continued: “It was great to be back to how I trained in college, to train as a young man. I think the biggest thing is just to learn your routines and come to these places and find the ropes. You just have to learn to stay in your lane. “

Thorbjornsen is aware of the financial attractiveness of the new LIV Golf series, supported by Saudi Arabia, but said his professional plans have been postponed. However, he made an offer to the PGA Tour to attract the best colleges like himself.

“Maybe they could do something like offer PGA cards to the first five college players,” Thorbjornsen said. “It will provide an incentive.”

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