Juilen Brun, a junior communications major, took the Big 12 by storm. By winning the individual title at regionals, he earned an invitation to the 2014 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, forgoing his bid for the NCAA Championship. He is competing as the lone amateur amongst a field of PGA Tour players that includes past Masters champions, US Open winners, FedEx Cup leaders and a handful of former Colonial victors.
After a shaky first nine, Brun (+7) finished his first round tied for fourth to last.
With leader, Dustin Johnson (-5), 12 strokes ahead, Brun’s chances at the cut are slim. If today’s scores were solely used for its calculation, he would have to move within the top 70 (+1), gaining back at least six strokes.
Inconsistent play and a handful of mental errors left Brun eight-over through the first nine holes—he bogeyed or doubled six of them. Brun’s only relief in that span came on 16, a par three, when his tee shot kicked off the right fringe to roll within a few yards of the hole. He one-putted for birdie.
Small mistakes added at least three strokes to Brun’s score. On 15, he took a water hazard penalty drop and tried to flop his lay-up to the top of a hill on the collar, wanting the ball to roll to the pin. It stopped at the top and led to a two-putt double bogey. On 17, a wind pushed his ball right and into a stream surrounded by trees.
Brun took his drop several yards back to create a better angle for his approach to the green, but left it short, leading to an additional double bogey. Brun made another small mistake on 18. He rimmed out on his save for par two yards away.
Sarosh Adi, a junior communications major and Brun’s teammate, was at Colonial Thursday along with many other TCU golfers. Adi said “[Brun] is just trying to find a comfort zone—he hasn’t found his rhythm yet.” But when it came to his second nine holes, Brun’s play was completely different.
Despite some trouble with hitting fairways in regulation, he saved par on 4, 5, 8 and 9, making par on eight of nine holes. He also birdied 6, bringing his second nine score to one-under
TCU head basketball coach Trent Johnson followed Brun around for parts of the round.
“I don’t know a lot about golf, but I know something about athletes, and this kid has the ‘IT’ factor,” Johnson said. “He’s special and unselfish.”
Brun will need something “special” come Friday. The last time someone shot an opening round 77 or worse, and went on to make the 36-hole cut, was in 2000 (Loren Roberts); however, that was before the 2008 rule change of cut procedures, which introduced an additional cut after 54 holes. Brun will have to dodge both to see play on Sunday when the Invitational concludes.
Brun will tee off tomorrow at 1:39 p.m. from the first tee, again with Martin and Kisner.
For a full list of tee times, click here.
To see the leaderboard, click here.