Brownstown’s Chris Baker reflects on impressive outing at U.S. Open


Brownstown native Chris Baker competed in his first major last weekend at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.

He qualified after shooting a -5 across 36 holes at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland, a couple of weeks ago.

Last weekend was a special moment for Baker, who had his parents, fiancée, sister and sister’s fiancé all in attendance to watch him play.

Baker made the most of his first major experience, as well, making the cut Friday to continue playing Saturday and Sunday en route to a top-30 finish overall.

“Just really cool, cool to get the first major under the belt,” he said. “To make the cut and to finish top 30 made it even more special.”

Baker thought he played some solid golf Thursday (the opening day) after his tee time was delayed due to fog early in the morning. But Baker had a couple of bogeys and missed some opportunities, finishing with a 74 (+3) on the day.

Friday was where Baker started to turn it on. As he described it, it was “tee to green” golf. He had a huge birdie on the fifth hole, which was his 14th hole played of the day since he started on the back nine, to improve to +2 on the tournament.

Baker bogeyed the seventh hole (16th hole played) to drop back down to +3. At that point, with two holes left, Baker knew he was right around the cut line.

“On the cut line is the worst place to sit because you’re playing very well, but everything is not quite as good as you’d like it to be,” Baker said. “As the day went on, I knew the cut would be +3 or +4, probably closer to +3.”

So on the final two holes of the day, Baker came up clutch. He parred the second-to-last hole for a par 3, and on the final hole (par 5), instead of going for birdie, Baker played it safe and two-putted for par to keep himself at +3.

Baker made the cut after shooting a 71 (E) on Friday.

“Making the cut is always difficult and you feel the pressure, but I was fortunate enough to make it through to give myself two more days to make some birdies to try to move up,” Baker said.

The golf only got better from there for the Brownstown native.

On Saturday, Baker had one of the highlights of the entire U.S. Open. On the fourth hole, Baker holed out from the fairway bunker to make eagle. The shot was so good it ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10, checking in at No. 8.

“Incredible shot,” he said. “One that I will hopefully see that one around and remember it for a while. It was a hard hole, so that was a lot of fun.”

Baker said he actually hit the pin two to three times on Thursday and Friday, so it was nice to finally see one fall Saturday.

“It was kind of crazy,” he said. “I had been hitting a lot of good shots, and it was nice to see that one on four go in for eagle.”

Baker shot his best round of the weekend Saturday, shooting a 69 (-2) to move to +1 for the Open.

Early in the morning Sunday (the final day of competition), Baker was even par and was tied for 10th place overall.

Baker had a couple of bogeys on Sunday and shot a 73 (+2) on the day, finishing the U.S. Open at +3, which was good enough for tied for 26th. Baker tied with Rikuya Hoshino, Martin Kaymer, Bryson DeChambeau and 2021 Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama.

“I was super happy. It was a great week. It was a special week,” Baker said. “First major. Torrey Pines, I really liked Torrey Pines. It’s a special place, and I’ve had a lot of great memories there. Obviously, as a golfer perfectionist, we always try and want more. Looking back on it, I did a lot of really good things. There are always places to improve, and I’m going to work on that, talk to my coaches and keep moving forward.”

With his finish, Baker earned around $87,000.

“Great paycheck,” he said. “If you’re going to play some good golf, the majors are a good place to play well.”

One of his goals is to keep his card after this year ends. It’s a point structure, and he’ll need roughly around 400 points to keep his card. Baker earned 35 points for his finish at the U.S. Open.

Baker said it has been a tough road the past couple of months to get to this point. He was battling a shoulder injury and wasn’t playing as much golf earlier in the year, but now, he hopes this is the start of a good run for him.

“It has definitely been an uphill battle recently, but I’m starting to round that corner, and I’ve got some big events coming up, hopefully keep some momentum and keep playing great,” he said.

He is taking this week off before a long stretch of golf ahead. Baker will be competing in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit July 1 to 4, John Deere Classic in Illinois July 8 to 11, Barbasol Championship in Kentucky July 15 to 18, 3M Open in Minnesota July 22 to 25, Barracuda Championship in California Aug. 5 to 8 and Wyndham Championship in North Carolina Aug. 12 to 15.

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