Lamielle at the U.S. Open

Joey  Lamielle began play this morning in his second U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., and he is counting on making a better showing than he did in 2008 when he missed the cut at Torrey Pines in California.

The course is long, measuring 7,574 yards and plays to a par 71 with just three par 5's. The 18th hole is 525-yard par 4.

But Lamielle's strengths are accuracy off the tee and putting. He'll have to play to them if he expects to make the cut.

"Put some money on me in Vegas," he said with a grin.

 "Yea, ten bucks may win you ten million," chimed in Andre Panet-Raymond, a PGA master pro who is serving as his caddie this week.

That's how much of a long shot Sarasota's Lamielle is in a field loaded with superstars from around the world.  Heck, many so-called experts are not giving any American a chance, considering none have been in the top three of the last three major championships.

 Lamielle and his caddie arrived in Maryland last Saturday. He played nine holes each day for four consecutive days.

 On Wednesday, he putted and pounded balls on the range. His parents arrived, and he showed them around the course.  After lunch, he worked on escaping sand traps.

 "When I was on the putting green, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were doing drills," he said. "My dad thought that was a blast."

Some 250,000 spectators are expected to show up at Congressional the next four days, and Lamielle isn't without his share of support.

  "I got twelve tickets and could have used more," he said. His parents, caddie, sister, her boyfriend, Joey's girlfriend and swing coach John Bullas, the director of instruction at Lakewood Ranch Country Club are part of his entourage.

In addition, Lamielle is being hosted by Jim
Albus, who won multiple times on the Champions Tour and has summer home about an hour from Congressional.
Albus, who played out of TPC at Prestancia, has been a friend and mentor of Lamielle's for over 10 years.

"I am more at ease this time," he said. "At Torrey Pines, all the chaos was new to me --- the media, signing autographs, the escorts."

 In 2008, Lamielle had rounds of 76-79 --- 155.

 "I don't think Congressional is as difficult as Torrey," he said. "Keeping it in the fairway is going to be the key for me. I don't agree with people who say you can be over par and contend. A couple under par should win it."


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