June 23, 2009

Lewis enjoys some cheers before his Open run ends

June 23, 2009

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Scott Lewis was greeted with a cacophony of cheers as he walked up to the 17th green at Bethpage Black Saturday.

"You can do it, Lewis!"

"Go Gauchos!"

"Yeah, UCSB!"

At that moment it would have been tough to guess that he was a few shots from missing the cut in his first U.S. Open.

"It was just so awesome to go up there and having everybody rooting me on," Lewis said in a phone interview from Farmingdale, N.Y., Saturday.

He was even greeted with a "You can do it, Lewis!" during his swing.

Lewis, who earned a spot in the tournament by qualifying as an alternate in a sectional tournament, chuckled at the memory that was still clear in his mind as he watched the TV coverage of the tournament in his hotel room.

"I'm a fan through and through," he said. "Playing in it makes it more special for me to see on TV. I'm watching the guys who made the cut play the holes I navigated the last couple days."

The 20-year-old Lewis shot a 10 over 80 Saturday, giving him a two-round total of 21 over 161. He finished third from last, one shot ahead of Josh Brock, a golfer at UBC-Wilmington who also is 20, and Matt Jones, who withdrew.

All three were playing in the U.S. Open for the first time.

"I would have had to be really, really on top of my game to make the cut," Lewis said. "It's just so spectacular that I ended up getting in the event."

Lewis shot one better in the second round, but he wasn't as consistent as Friday, when he parred 10 holes, bogeyed five and double bogeyed three.

Saturday, Lewis had eight pars, two doubles and seven bogeys, but he birdied the par 4 fourth hole.

"It was a little bit of a relief, especially since it happened pretty early after a rough start," Lewis said, referring to his par, double bogey, bogey start to the second round. "That felt really good."

Despite the high scores, Lewis said he won't look back on his Open experience with anything other than fond memories.

"I can't say I can remember the last time I felt pretty good about shooting an 80," he said.

With his stay as a competitor over, Lewis was hoping to watch the rest of the tournament as a spectator. Because there was uncertainty about whether or not he would get into the tournament, Lewis' father/caddy Mike bought plane tickets to New York so they could watch in the gallery.

"I may walk the course while the tournament is going on and try to watch," Lewis said. "There's nothing like being there live, so I think I'm going to suck in as much as I can while I've got the opportunity."

e-mail: rjohnson@newspress.com