Chris Doak and John Parry, two of the four European Tour members making their Major Championship debuts this week, got their first taste of the US Open today with both relishing the experience.
Scot Doak shot an opening 73 and made plenty of friends along the way with his Ben Hogan-style white flat cap going down well with the galleries at Merion, the site of Hogan’s legendary 1950 US Open victory.
"The crowds were smashing and I'm happy with today," he said. "It was my first taste of a Major and I loved it. It was brilliant. I had a few shouts from the crowd about my hat so I gave them a bow. They said they loved it. They are friendly people."
Hogan famously hit a one-iron approach to the 72nd hole in 1950 to help secure his place in a play-off, which he won the following day just 16 months after a near-fatal car crash.
"Merion's definitely lived up to my expectations," Doak added. "It's not until you get here that you appreciate how good Hogan's shot was and the conditions he had leading up to it. Especially a one iron. It's hard enough hitting a five iron in there.
"It's a special place. I had a look at the plaque (commemorating Hogan's shot on the 18th fairway) yesterday. I hit my drive right up there and stood next to it and took a five iron and hit it stiff. Special things like that make your week."
England's Parry is another of the four European Tour Members making their first appearances in a Major and he shot a six-over-par 76 on his US Open debut - but still loved every minute of it.
Parry, who like Doak secured his place in the field via international qualifying at Walton Heath last month, was in the second group out from the first tee and carded seven bogeys and one birdie either side of the three-and-a-half hour storm delay.
The 26 year old, who won the Qualifying School last year to regain his European Tour card, said: "It was a bit strange. It wasn't as hard as I thought, the greens are right in front of you and I thought the fairways would be tighter.
"But you hit one bad shot and it is a five per cent shot of making par. I missed a couple of greens on the wrong side and you have no chance of making par. I bogeyed one hole with a lob wedge from 80 yards and it span 40 feet away and I had a four footer for bogey in the end.
"It's as easy as it is going to play. There's a little bit of wind but nothing too bad. The fairways are soft but the greens and rough are tough.
"I loved the experience though. It was a bit stop-start today but hopefully tomorrow will be better and hopefully I can have a good round and make the weekend."
Parry, who outscored playing partners Rikard Karlberg and Yui Ueda by two shots, added: "My dad and uncle are here. It's my dad's first time out of Europe. He's been to France twice and Portugal once. I've not really spoken to him (after the round) but he loves it.
"He only came yesterday so it is the first he has seen of the course. It is a bit of a shock, even for me. You don't realise how tough the set-up is. It's not as easy as it seems in practice."