Video: John Parry’s decision not to throw in the towel has reaped US Open reward

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YORKSHIRE’S two US Open competitors have walked into Chambers Bay, on the north-west coast of America, through different doors – the front and the tradesmen’s entrance, if you will.

Harrogate's John Parry has embraced the challenge that is Chambers Bay (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire).

Harrogate's John Parry has embraced the challenge that is Chambers Bay (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire).

Sheffield’s Danny Willett made his way just a stride behind world No 1 Rory McIlroy in the Race to Dubai standings.

The 27-year-old has one victory under his belt this season – banking over €850,000 for winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge – and he received almost €600,000 for coming third in the WGC Cadillac Match Play.

His last tournament appearance was a confidence-boosting tie for sixth in the Irish Open, where he closed with a 68.

Harrogate’s Parry had to start his journey to Robert Trent Jones Jnr’s US Open debut-making track at the Walton Heath sectional qualifying in the south of England. His most recent event saw him fire a disappointing 77 in the Nordea Masters in Sweden to slide to 50th place.

But those of you looking to place a bet borne of White Rose pride ahead of today’s start should stay your hand before clicking that mouse button and consider the following.

Parry has only played in the 
US Open once before, at 
St Merion two years ago when fellow Englishman Justin Rose took the title, but finished in a highly creditable tie for 28th.

Also factor in the difficulty involved in qualifying, when only 11 places were on offer and he snapped up one with third place after super rounds of 66 and 69.

Add to this his ever-increasing levels of confidence under the guidance of a new coach in Hugh Marr and then top it off with the fact that, unlike so many of his more pampered fellow professionals, he has done no pre-event bleating about the public course venue near Tacoma, whose foundations are a disused sand and gravel mine.

Talk of the world’s best players being tested to the point that even some of the tees will not be level has elicited more complaints than a Basil Fawlty-run chain of hotels.

But 28-year-old Parry is, by contract, looking forward to the challenge of what some would have you believe is going to be golf’s equivalent of a funfair’s crooked house.

“I’ve heard some people say it could be brutal. There’s never been a US Open there so you don’t know what you’re getting,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s going to be interesting. You’re going to have to hit a lot of different shots, which I quite like, and you’re going to have to have some imagination.

“It could be one of those links tournaments where it’s all luck of the draw, with it being on the sea. The morning and afternoon tee times could vary quite a lot. That’s (the weather) the one thing we’ll have to wait and see.

“They have never played a US Open on this style of course before. I’m feeling confident.”

Parry’s last two tournaments, the Irish Open and the Nordea Masters, saw him and his fellow competitors buffeted by high winds at Royal County Down and the PGA National Sweden course, respectively.

“The last couple of weeks have been good preparation for it, which is handy,” added Parry, “but it’s one of those things that you don’t know until you get there what you’re in for.

“Even though it’s linksy, I don’t think it’s going to be like any golf course I have played before. All I can do is do as much preparation as I can and go in and have confidence and see what happens.”

Parry, winner of the Vivendi Cup in 2010, his only tour victory to date, had to go through the mental and physical grind that is Qualifying School at the end of last year after losing his playing rights.

He admits his form was discouraging to the point where he considered “throwing in the towel”, but added: “I haven’t really done anything else in my life. When you have only played golf, you haven’t really got any skills to do anything else if you did chuck the towel in. I didn’t really have a choice.”

Buoyed by not just reclaiming his Tour card but doing so in fifth place, and then making a good start to the new campaign under Marr’s tutelage, Parr has a positive outlook that is so crucial for a top-level sportsman.

“Looking back now, as I go back to when I was really struggling, I wasn’t far off,” he reflected. “I felt like chucking the towel in at points. It wasn’t like I wasn’t practising. If I wasn’t you could say that I needed to work harder, but I was.

“I’m pretty happy with the way I turned it around. Qualifying School was quite important for me, and then starting well this year was important. If I had got off to a bad start it could have killed my confidence a bit.

“I am happy with how I have turned it around. It’s one of those that you don’t really realise until six months or a year later how much you have turned it around.

“It’s good that my coach works with two or three other Tour players so you can bounce things off him and he can tell you where your stats compare to the others.

“There’s always something that you can push on from and look to improve in certain areas as a benchmark.”

Starting with an improvement on his 28th place in his US Open debut for instance. Do not bet against it.

Lindrick’s Joe Dean, Yorkshire Union’s sole match play representative in the Amateur Championship following 36-hole qualifying, went out in the first round, losing by one hole to France’s Antoine Rozner.

Scottish quartet Greig Marchbank, Jack McDonald, Craig Ross and Robert MacIntyre were all victorious.

Marchbank was a 3&2 winner over Ryan Stovash, whose American compatriot was thrashed 6&5 by McDonald, while Ross beat Australia’s Cameron Davis 2&1 and MacIntyre edged out DJ Loypur on the last hole.