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Robinson-Thompson feeling at 'home' ahead of U.S. Open debut 

Robinson-Thompson feeling at 'home' ahead of U.S. Open debut 

Brandon Robinson-Thompson is hoping to take advantage of familiar surroundings ahead of his second Major appearance at the U.S. Open, taking place at Pinehurst No.2 this week.

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The Englishman, who currently plays on the Challenge Tour and earned his spot through Final Qualifying at Walton Heath last month, began his golfing journey through a scholarship at the University of South Carolina Aiken, and he is looking to use his extensive experience of playing in the Carolinas to prepare him for ‘golf’s toughest test’.

“I played here in college and have been in the Carolinas area for seven years,” he said. “I've played a lot of sand based, pine tree courses, so it's nothing I wouldn't have seen before visually.

“Perhaps difficulty wise I maybe haven't quite experienced Pinehurst No. 2 yet anywhere but I think I'll be a lot more comfortable than say, a European player that hasn't played over here at all, for sure.”

The 31-year-old’s collegiate experience will also give him the benefit of significant support from the crowds in North Carolina this week, a factor he highlights as key to enjoying the week.

“It’s going to be so fun,” he said. “My wife's family are coming. I've got old teammates that are coming. I've got three friends from the Isle of Wight here with me already, and I know there's a lot more people that I haven't mentioned.

“The messages and the support I have received from people makes me feel like it will be almost like a home Major.”

Focusing on having fun on the golf course is something the Englishman feels is vital to his game and is a key learning he took from his Major debut at Hoylake last year in The 151st Open Championship, where he made the cut and finished in the top 60.

“The biggest thing I learned honestly was just to enjoy it,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed every second, not because I don't think I'll be back often but they’re such good opportunities for us in our careers.

“I've dreamed my whole life of being in these positions. Why wouldn't I want to have a good time and savour every moment?

“I felt that helped me feel really comfortable, way more than I even first imagined I would be. I tend to try and do that every week, but obviously Major weeks are different.”

Robinson-Thompson followed his Major debut at Hoylake with a first Challenge Tour victory the week after at the Irish Challenge, capping off a special month.

“You’re still on a bit of a high, but then it's back to reality trying to figure out a golf course,” he said. “The fact that there weren't 10,000 people around the greens, lining the fairways meant nothing could bother me that week at the Irish Challenge.

“I'm getting on a plane on Monday if I don't win [this week] and fly straight to France to play on the Challenge Tour. So, I guess I'm assuming it will be a very similar feeling to last year.”

Robinson-Thompson followed his victory in Ireland last year with top ten finishes in Scotland, Switzerland and China, before closing his season with a fourth-place finish at the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A. His stellar late-season performances saw him finish 22nd in the Road to Mallorca Rankings – just one place off automatic promotion to the DP World Tour.

Despite narrowly missing out on graduating to golf’s Global Tour, he is now determined to build on that experience as he targets promotion this year.

“There was a tinge of disappointment but if you looked at how far I came last year, it was hard not to be really pleased and proud of what I accomplished last season,” he said.

“I have used that as a stepping stone to just keep believing. It's one thing thinking and then it's another thing knowing so. I think the whole year proved to myself again that I’m doing something right.”

The U.S. Open gets under way at 6:45am local time, with Robinson-Thompson set to tee it up in the opening group alongside Australian Jason Scrivener and American amateur Brendan Valdes.

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