• Rose recommends freewheeling approach for teen Hammer

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    Cole Hammer of the United States hits a tee shot on the 11th hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.  AFP PHOTO

    Cole Hammer of the United States hits a tee shot on the 11th hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.
    AFP PHOTO

    TACOMA, United States: When Justin Rose reached the final stage of qualifying for the British Open as a wet-behind-the-ears 14-year-old, he figured he’d climbed the highest mountain in golf.

    “I felt like I was changing the world,” Rose said at the 115th US Open at Chambers Bay.

    So when the 2013 US Open champ sat down and watched 15-year-old Cole Hammer’s Chambers Bay news conference, it brought back memories of his own major championship debut at age 17.

    “He seems very level headed. From what I took from it, his goal is to enjoy the experience,” Rose said of Hammer.

    “That’s all I would urge someone that young to do is just to go out there and absorb everything and enjoy it and no expectations.”

    Hammer, of the United States, has been making a name for himself in the build up to the US Open this week.

    At age 15 years, nine months and 21 days, he’ll be the third youngest player to have competed in the US Open.

    “I think at that age it’s about just experiencing things and learning and taking it from there, really not putting any pressure on yourself,” Rose said.

    “And I think just to follow up, I think that’s why I did do so well at the Open Championship at Birkdale in ’98.”

    Rose announced himself to the golfing world with a splash when he finished tied for fourth as a 17-year-old amateur at the 1998 British Open. He capped his final round by holing out from about 50 yards in the rough.

    “I realized people didn’t expect anything from me. Even when I got in contention, I knew people expected me to go out and shoot 80 or blow up or whatever.

    “So I went out and free wheeled on the weekend knowing that I had nothing to lose. It’s a good mentality to have.”

    AFP

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