Tidland, the Other Amateur, Keeps Nerves and Score Even

It was not business as usual Thursday at Steve Tidland's automotive and equipment leasing company in Placentia, Calif.

With son Chris playing in his first U.S. Open, Steve spent most of the day on the telephone, talking with son Brett, trying to keep up with the first round at Shinnecock Hills.

"I've got to learn to just get in here and do the work," Steve Tidland said. "It was pretty hard today."

Chris had the same feeling. As he stood on the first tee about to hit his first shot in the U.S. Open, he knew exactly how he felt.

"I was real nervous," he said.

Tidland, a 22-year-old amateur, didn't exactly get off to a rousing start, but he finished at even-par 70 and counted his lucky strokes.

"I just started chipping away," Tidland said.

On the first, Tidland hit his drive far right, knocked a seven-iron over the green under a TV tower, hit his chip shot 20 feet past the green, chipped on and two-putted for a double bogey.

If he started slowly, though, Tidland finished fast. He birdied the 18th when he knocked a nine-iron out of the rough from 181 yards and stopped the ball four feet below the hole, then made the putt.

Tidland credited his caddie for a lot of help. Alan Bratton, a teammate on the NCAA champion Oklahoma State team, carried Tidland's bag.

Tidland, the low qualifier in a field of 90 at Columbus, Ohio, played the first round one group behind Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Fred Couples.

"I had the best seat in the house and playing was a bonus," he said.

Tidland, who was born in Torrance, was accompanied by his mom, Deni. Steve is scheduled to arrive early this morning and watch Chris as long as he plays this week.

"Tomorrow, I know I'll be nervous again," Chris said.

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