Séamus Power determined to keep major progression going at US Open

Waterford golfer has already finished in the top 30 at the Masters and top 10 at US PGA this season

This time a year ago, Séamus Power was a million miles or so away from the US Open. “I was probably getting ready to go to a Monday qualifier at The Travelers,” recalled Power, who was ranked 327th in the world at that point of a career that still include a PGA Tour win nor even an appearance in a major.

The queue of autograph hunters awaiting his exit from the 18th green after a practice round with Matt Fitzpatrick in advance of his debut appearance in the US Open told its own story. The upward trajectory taken by Power — a tournament winner at the Barbasol last year and up to 41st in the world rankings — has elevated him to a new status with newer, greater expectations.

Already this year, Power has competed in two majors — top 30 at the Masters and top 10 at the US PGA — and has the other two in his sights. The US Open this week, the 150th Open at St Andrews next month.

That he left Southern Hills last month “disappointed” — his own words — at a tied-ninth finish just four shots adrift of a playoff won by Justin Thomas is an indication of his level of expectations: “I was only out of the playoff by four and I didn’t birdie 17 and then I had one hang on the lip on 16, hang on the lip on 14.

“I had an iron to the Par 5 13 in two and didn’t make birdie and I missed a short one on 10 so it was one of those things. It wouldn’t have taken a lot for me to be on 17 tee on five under and birdie par would have won you the tournament but you didn’t know that at the time.

“You are assuming things would have played out the same if I had done something differently but you just don’t know. If I had been six or seven who knows what the guys in front would have done, so it is over to what-ifs; but I was a little disappointed. I did a lot of good things which I was proud of and happy with, just a couple of mistakes you would love to have back but that is the essence of golf, just those little things. It was so close at the end with those guys in the playoff but it was a fun week and a bit disappointing.”

Power has taken to the major stage with ease, both comfortable in his skin and, using the mantra of Bob Rotella with whom he has worked, managing to time manage the amount of work that can be done.

“This is where I always dreamed of playing. This is where you want to be,” said Power, describing the course set-up as, “quite soft and not fiery right now. We will see as the week goes on. I am guessing the rough won’t be touched again and I am guessing there is not going to be much watering going on.

“Right now it is a beautiful golf course in great shape and if you hit it on the fairway you have more chances than I would have guessed from what I’ve seen of past US Opens. I think it is a nice test. Visually it is tricky, there is some blind shots there is some angles, but there is some chances and I am looking forward to seeing what I can do.”

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times