Photo courtesy of Sidelines Archives
Phil Mickelson, Rory Mcilroy, John Daly, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson. The previous are some of golf’s biggest names and will be part of the field for this year’s British Open Championship. Among those is a man who used to be a Blue Raider golf star, Kent Bulle.
The 2011 Middle Tennessee graduate qualified for this year’s British Open by winning the Argentina Open last November. Bulle participated in the Web.com tour, where he has two top-25 finishes. The Glasgow, Kentucky, native also claimed a victory in his home state at the 2015 Kentucky Open. Bulle’s only major thus far was at the 2016 U.S. Open, where he missed the cut by just four strokes.
In his time at MTSU, Bulle lettered in golf for four years. He racked up a list of great accomplishments, including helping the Blue Raiders to their first NCAA National Championship tournament as a sophomore in 2008, where the Raiders would finish as the number 15 team in the country.
Earlier this week, Bulle spent time preparing for the open by practicing with a host of golf’s top players, including Dustin Johnson (No.1 in the world), Brandt Snedeker (No. 33), Kevin Kisner (No.25), Jimmy Walker (No. 38) and Pat Perez (No. 42).
Practicing with five players that are in the top 100 list of best golfers in the world will most certainly help Bulle prepare for the challenge that the Royal Birkdale course presents.
The Royal Birkdale gives players fits right from the get-go. On hole number one, a good shot off of the tee is a must. A miss may end up in the sand with 250 yards still to the pin, which is also protected by another sand trap. The fairways have a few grass mounds and the rough has been known to leave players walking in circles looking for their ball. After leaving hole number one, one can imagine the challenges that lie ahead (no pun intended).
“I think it’s a big advantage to play with those players,” Bulle said in an interview with The Daily News Journal. “I mean, Dustin Johnson is number one in the world. To see those guys up close, how they play the course, how they manage their game and that sort of thing, I think I could take a few things away from what they were doing and some of their strategies on the course, being that they’ve already been here before and the experiences they’ve had over the years.”
Aside from the advantage of preparing with some of golf’s best talents, Bulle has the advantage of having a caddy who knows his game well, former MTSU teammate Chas Narramore. Narramore was a junior on the 2008 team and was also a big part in helping the Raiders get to the NCAA Championships. The Kingston, Tennessee, native spent three seasons alongside Bulle at Middle Tennessee, which will inevitably help the pair navigate the Royal Birkdale and make their way up the leaderboards.
“He knows my game just as well as I know my game,” Bulle said. “So when things get going, there’s basically two people out there that know exactly what’s going on for me. It’ll be a big advantage for me to have him out there.”
At the end of round one on Thursday, Bulle finished his round at -2, just three strokes back of Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and this year’s U.S. Open winner, Brooks Koepka, who share the lead.
Live coverage of round two can be viewed on the Golf Channel and the NBC Sports App from 1:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Bulle tees off for round two at 4:53 a.m.
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