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No Home Field Advantage Says Local Boy Trying To Make Good At U.S. Open

Six players with ties to the Northwest are entered in golf’s U.S. Open as the event tees off in the Pacific Northwest for the very first time this week.

But the highest ranked among them doubts the locals will benefit from home field advantage.

Pro golfer Ryan Moore was born in Tacoma and raised in Puyallup -- all within 10 to 15 miles of Chambers Bay Golf Course, the venue for this year’s U.S. Open. The tour veteran said he has the feeling of coming home, but doesn’t think that gives him a significant edge.

“You’re playing against the best players in the world,” Moore noted. “These guys are all really good. And really good at figuring out golf courses really fast and getting comfortable with them.”

Moore said he’s asking his out-of-town competitors for spare tickets to give to his throng of family and friends. He said there’s “certainly extra motivation” to provide a local boy made good story.

“To win any major would be incredible, but to be able to do it potentially where you were born and raised and in front of a local crowd, your family and friends, I mean it would be incredible,” he said.

Other local names who’ll stalk the fairways at Chambers Bay include three former University of Washington Husky golfers: Troy Kelly, Cheng-Tsung Pan and Richard Lee. There’s also Ashland, Oregon High School graduate Jason Allred and a truly local boy Michael Putnam. Putnam lives about two miles from the tournament links and played the first official round on the course when it opened in 2007.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Putnam said it can't hurt to have extra familiarity from playing the course more than anyone else in the U.S. Open field. And he added, that might not be his only advantage.

"I'm probably sleeping better than anyone else," Putnam said. "I'm sleeping in my own bed, which is nice. Hopefully that will keep me energized throughout the week."

Moore has spoken well of the British Isles-style links course at Chambers Bay. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” Moore told reporters Monday after about a week of practice. “It’s a fun golf course. It’s very challenging, it’s very tough.”

Moore is currently 33rd in the world rankings. The former Puyallup High School golfer is now a 32-year-old and currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

Moore has played in eight prior U.S. Opens. His best finish was a tie for tenth place in 2009.

World Golf Foundation Chief Executive Steve Mona said Moore could be in the hunt on Sunday when the victor will be decided. “He’s got a great game for the U.S. Open. He’s very steady,” Mona said. “From what I can see, he’s got the temperament for it too. That’s your number one hope, if you will, to have a local boy make good.”

Mona’s top picks to lift the 2015 U.S. Open trophy include Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.