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Coffs golf star in US Open

Paul Sheehan
Paul Sheehan Sunshine Coast Daily

COFFS Harbour golfer Paul Sheehan has touched down in California and cannot wait to get to Pebble Beach for next week’s US Open after qualifying in Japan.

The 33-year-old carded a 67 and a 68 to tie for third place in the Japanese qualifier which was only open to the top 25 money earners on the Japanese and Asian tours.

Sheehan, who now resides in Melbourne, has previously played in two British Opens but he admits that making it into the final field for a major in America is a bit of a different feeling.

“There’s probably a little bit of an unknown, probably different to the British Open,” Sheehan said on Wednesday from the Japanese city of Nagoya.

“At the end of the day, though, golf is golf and it’s all about trying to shoot as low a score as possible.

“I generally like playing hard golf courses where it tests your patience and so on but at the end of the day to perform in the majors you need to play really well.”

The Open is being played at Pebble Beach, arguably the best course in the United States but Sheehan has some past experience to call on when he steps on to the first tee on Friday morning (AEST).

“I played the AT&T tournament there on the PGA tour in 2007,” he said.

“It’s a great golf course, probably my favourite in America that I’ve played.

“One to be able to have played it and two to have good memories of a great place helps and I’m very excited about getting there,”

The US Open is the hardest tournament to win with fairways much thinner than usual and the rough built up to a point where any wayward shot is punished severely.

Sheehan believes that years of playing on the Japanese tour will actually help him to combat the dastardly conditions that the players must face.

“We do it all the time in Japan so that’s something that I’m used to,” the right-hander said.

“The rough is probably going to be a little bit thicker than what we play in Japan.

“Japan is probably a good place to get yourself ready because it is so narrow all of the time.”

Having played his junior golf at Coffs Harbour Golf Club, Sheehan admits that he is not overly confident of a strong showing next week but he believes if he can find his best game then he is a chance of recording a good finish.

“Unfortunately I’ve been a little bit inconsistent,” he said.

“I played really good here in Japan a few weeks ago and came second, I got beaten by Roy Ishikawa who shot a 58 to beat me.

“I played really well that week but I haven’t taken that form into the last few weeks but I played well in the US Open qualifying obviously which is good.

“I just need to try and strive for a bit of consistency. I’m catching up with my coach next week as he’s over there and hopefully we can get ourselves worked out a little bit and get us on the straight and narrow again.”