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Brooks Koepka’s U.S. Open Journal, Day 3: Playing with ‘The Mechanic’

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Brooks Koepka / Getty Images

Everyone knows the stars in U.S. Open field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson ... the names roll off our tongue with ease. But what about Brooks Koepka? While he might not be a household name just yet, the up-and-coming golfer has a chance to make some noise this week at the U.S. Open.

Koepka, a three-time All-American at Florida State University, will be making his first major championship start this week at Olympic Club, after qualifying at the U.S. Open sectional in Florida. (Side note: he beat 14-year-old Andy Zhang in a playoff.)

He'll be writing all week for Devil Ball about his first U.S. Open experience. (You can also follow Brooks on Twitter at @BKoepka.)

SAN FRANCISCO, California — The day before the first round of any tournament can be pretty nerve-wracking, but instead of worrying about my opening tee shot on Thursday, I decided to try and relax and learn from one of the coolest customers in golf: Miguel Angel Jimenez.

I had a couple of guys on my list that I wanted to play a practice rounds with this week, and "The Mechanic" was definitely near the top. What I love about him the most is that he's so laid back and just enjoys life to the fullest. You have to respect a guy who can go out there, have a good time and still find a way to grind out positive results.

Luckily, I ended up getting the chance to play with him on Wednesday afternoon and the round didn't disappoint. Even though I didn't play my best golf, Miguel joked around and kept things light, making it one of the highlights of my U.S. Open week.

Some might be concerned with a sub-par ball-striking round before a major championship, but the simple fact is you're not always as sharp mentally during a practice round as you are once the tournament begins. That little bit of focus wasn't there today, but I know it'll be there when I tee off on Thursday afternoon.

The good news to come out of Wednesday's practice round is that I'm finally starting to figure out the rough at Olympic Club. Hopefully I don't find it on a regular basis, but if I do, at least I know, for the most part, how it'll react.

While this is my first U.S. Open, I'm actually not nervous about stepping onto the tee and hitting that first shot tomorrow. If anything, I'm just excited to finally start the tournament.

If there's one thing I need to do this week, it's keep double-bogey off the card. I know that might sound like a simple task, but big numbers have a tendency to creep up on you out here. Keeping the damage control to a minimum is paramount if I want to contend this week.

Once I left the course on Wednesday, my mom and I headed out to have dinner with a family that actually hosted my girlfriend when she was playing professional soccer in the Bay Area. When I came out to visit her I'd always see them as well, so it was nice to connect with them again this week.

If you're wondering why my girlfriend isn't at Olympic Club this week, it's because she's currently playing pro soccer in Sweden. We've been doing the long distance thing for a while, so we're both used to it by now. The good news is I'm going to see her right after the U.S. Open.

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