Meyer gains confidence from strong U.S. Open showing

Meyer gains confidence from strong U.S. Open showing

CROMWELL, Conn. — Four years worth of advice from Mike Small resonated with Dylan Meyer this past weekend at the U.S. Open. The recent Illinois graduate spent some time each night before the next round at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club thinking about what his college coach would say.

"That kind of carried me to be where I was in the end," Meyer said.

Where Meyer ended up was a tie for 20th in his professional debut. That put him ahead of notable golfers like Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson — in addition to the numerous stars that didn't even make the cut — and $122,387 in his first payout after graduation.

Meyer is back in action starting today with the first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands along with fellow former Illini D.A. Points and Nick Hardy.

Meyer will tee off at 7:50 a.m. with the good vibes following a top-20 finish at a major championship.

"It just gives me a lot of confidence showing I can hang around and stick with these guys, and if I play my 'A' game I have a really good chance at winning," Meyer said. "I'm pretty happy with it — especially with my debut getting a check right off the bat and getting really good experience win a major championship carrying into these next two events."

Meyer's debut could have had a different ending. He opened the U.S. Open with a 7-over 77, shooting a 41 on the front nine. The turning point, he said, came on the first tee of the second round.

"I just came in with a better, stronger mentality," Meyer said. "I knew my back was against the rope and I had to lay down a solid round to finish, and I did. That was a really big confidence boost going into the weekend, and I was able to free swing it from there and started playing a lot better. A lot of stress-free golf."

Meyer shot a 1-under 69 in the second round to make the cut and took advantage of an earlier tee time in Saturday's third roudn to shoot a 1-over 71 and put himself in contention for Sunday as windier afternoon conditions saw scores skyrocket.

"Being in contention — four shots back to start the day — was exciting," Meyer said about Sunday's final round where he ultimately carded a 4-over 74. "It was a little nervewracking the first time I've ever been in that position, but I was really pumped for it. I didn't execute right — didn't hit the shots whenever they asked for them — but that's just the way it goes. I'm prepared for the next time."

Meyer's not dwelling on his top 20 finish in his first major. His attention is fully on the Travelers Championship and how he can attack TPC River Highlands.

"I've got to play a different golf course this week and play well," he said. "Now that it's over, as coach would say, 'Nobody cares. Go figure it out next week and win. Play better.' A T-20 was great but it wasn't a win.

"I'm going to keep going out and keep executing a plan and hitting strong, confident shots to put me in the right position. (The course) sets up good. A lot of drivers for me. Good mid-irons into greeens. The greens roll smooth. It seems like a very scoreable golf course if you're hititng the right shots."

Meyer's first professional season will continue at the Quicken Loans National starting June 28 in Potomac, Md.

"It's good to get starts anytime no matter where you're at," said Meyer, who is represented by former Illinois golfer Alex Burge and Excel Sports Management in New York.

"Getting to play and compete against the best of the best is always great and to get to do it three weeks in a row is awesome," Meyer continued. "It gives me the chance to keep playing well and carry confidence into the next week and make some cuts and win. That's ultimately the plan. I'm just ready to keep competing."

Meyer has two other PGA events already on his schedule with the John Deere Classic (July 12-15) and the Barracuda Championship (August 2-5). The rest of his first professional season is yet to be determined.

"As of right now, that is all I know about," Meyer said. "Hopefully I'm getting more PGA events — that would be the idea — but I'm not sure. Moving forward is very, very different and since I have no status anywhere it's kind of up in the air."

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