By Frank Pingue
BROOKLINE, Mass. (Reuters) - Callum Tarren nearly had to get a new set of clubs for the U.S. Open after they were misplaced by an airline but that did not unsettle the unheralded Englishman who went out and grabbed a share of the first-round clubhouse lead on Thursday.
The PGA Tour rookie flew into Boston from Toronto on Saturday but his clubs did not make the trip until the next day, which was actually an improvement compared to 2019 when he said they did not arrive until the eve of his first U.S. Open.
The 31-year-old Darlington native said people he stayed with during last week's Canadian Open, where he missed the cut days after qualifying for the U.S. Open, went to the airport to give "a little kick" to the airline staff.
"There was five other players on my flight. They all got golf clubs, so it was the second U.S. Open I've played in and second time no golf clubs," Tarren told reporters after a three-under-par 67 at The Country Club.
"This time I got them a little bit faster than last. I didn't actually get them until Wednesday in Pebble Beach a few years ago, so that was a nightmare."
The world number 445 is making the most of his second major championship appearance as he went out in the morning wave at The Country Club outside Boston and mixed an eagle with three birdies and two bogeys.
Tarren briefly held the solo lead after his eagle at the par-five eighth, his penultimate hole, where his approach shot settled within five feet of the cup.
"Obviously, that front section of the green is crazy. I was really aware of that," said Tarren. "So I picked a club that was going to fly middle of the green really, and like I say, I hit seven-iron downwind. It flew 200 yards and fed off that slope to the left there, and it was just perfect."
Tarren, who entered the week tied for 187th on the PGA Tour in first-round scoring average, does not seem intimidated by the course setup this week, a true U.S. Open test that features tight fairways, thick rough and small greens.
"This golf course has a little bit of a links feel, so I'm used to playing a lot of links golf back home, so I think that's -- yeah, I'm pretty comfortable out here," said Tarren.
"You've still got to execute golf shots at all times and be concentrated at all times. I'm just excited about the next
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Brookline, Massachusetts, editing by Pritha Sarkar)