Brendon Todd is rising to the challenge of his first major
By Bernie D'Amato under US Open
Number one contender. ©USGA/Steven Gibbons.

Number one contender. ©USGA/Steven Gibbons.

Brendon Todd is in the midst of a career month on the PGA Tour, and the U.S. Open is the latest venue where he is showcasing his talent. Todd’s performance at Pinehurst is being overshadowed by Martin Kaymer, but after a 67 in the second round, he sits in solo second place at four-under.

It’s hard to believe Brendon Todd is playing in his first major, but up until a month ago, not many people knew his name. At the most, he would get lumped into the impressive number of Georgia Bulldogs on the PGA Tour (at least seven graduates). However, Todd changed all that when he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May, and followed it up with a top-10 at Colonial and the Memorial. When you combine his excellent form with the fact that he grew up winning high school championships at Pinehurst, everything points to a successful week at the U.S. Open.

In the second round, Todd joined Kaymer as the only players to record bogey-free rounds. Todd said, “I played pretty solid the first round, only made two bogeys. Today, hit it even better. Really struck it well there for the first ten holes, making a couple of nice birdies with up-and-downs on 3 and 5. And then made some nice bunker saves for par on 11 and 16 and 17. And got one more birdie there on the back nine on 13. So very happy with my play so far.”

Brendon will be paired with Kaymer tomorrow, and he spoke about Kaymer’s record-setting performance, “He’s playing a brand of golf that we haven’t seen probably in a long time, since maybe Tiger. Yeah, probably, he might need to come back a little bit. I don’t think there’s too many — too much opportunity to shoot 6-under on the weekend or 8-under on the weekend if he were to get a couple more.

He added, “We’re going to go out and do our best. We really have to capitalize on the holes you have a wedge or par 5, where we might get up by the green in two. And hope he doesn’t play his best brand of golf.”

Kaymer might be the only player in the field with more confidence than Todd, but it isn’t by much. Despite registering only one top-10 before this season, Todd said he was ready for a jump start to his career, “Yeah, I saw it coming. I only got ten starts on the PGA TOUR last year. And I had five top-20s, and a shot away from four top-10s. I feel like I should have done it last year. I just couldn’t get it done. And this year I’ve just been able to take that momentum and put it to work.”

Momentum is a funny thing in sports. When you have it, you must capitalize.

2014 U.S. Open leaderboard.

–Bernie D’Amato