Brendon de Jonge Grabs Share Of Lead At 2010 US Open

June 18, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

The course at Pebble Beach has once again proven difficult for those in the draw at the 2010 U.S. Open.  The stronger players in the world are midway down the leader board, and a few lesser-known golfers have taken an early lead in their quest for a USGA Major championship.

Brendon de Jonge has emerged as one of the players vying for the top spot by the end of Sunday’s round.  The 29-year old who came to the United States to play his college golf at Virginia Tech earned himself a share of the lead with his impressive round Thursday.

“It’s obviously very exciting [to have a share of the lead],” said de Jonge. “But I think I need to do a good job of putting the round behind me and coming out and starting fresh, hopefully with more of the same.”

A native of Zimbabwe, de Jonge is no stranger to American soil.  He now lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and has spend several of his early pro seasons on the Nationwide Tour before earning his PGA Tour Card in the qualifying tournament.

De Jonge also knows the course at Pebble Beach through his experience on the Nationwide Tour, playing in three AT&T National Pro-Ams there.  The African missed the cut at the AT&T earlier this year, after finishing four times in the top-10 over the past two seasons.  At the time, he had not yet finished in the top-five in his career.

In March, he tied for ninth at the Honda Classic.  A week later he finished in another tie, this time for third at the Puerto Rico Open.  At the Quail Hollow Championship last month he finished alone in fourth.  His only professional win came in 2008 at the Xerox Classic on the Nationwide Tour.

At the end of Thursday’s round at Pebble Beach, de Jonge was in a three-way tie for first with Shaun Micheel, and Paul Casey.

“You have to try to stay patient,” said de Jonge. “You could hit a good putt that didn’t go in and hope some of your bad ones do. It evens out.”

The former Hokie hit 9-14 fairways, and 12 of 18 greens.  He recorded four bogeys, but canceled them out with four birdies.  The he hit a miracle eagle-3 at No. 14 on his approach shot from the fairway.

“Obviously it takes a lot of luck when something like that goes in,” de Jonge added. “That’s such a hard third shot, such a hard hole, period. It’s a bonus, one of those things.”

Out of the three leaders going into Friday’s round, Shaun Micheel has the best odds to win the tournament set by USA sportsbooks at 10/1.  Shaun Micheel has the second best odds at 28/1, and de Jonge rounds out the top three at 40/1.  Tiger Woods is the favorite to win the tournament at 7/1.

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