Aussie underdogs ready to thrive at Open

Australian underdogs Marcus Fraser and Kurt Barnes are determined to make the most of the US Open after getting through international qualifying.

Fraser booked his place in his third US Open after getting through the European qualifying while Barnes will make his US Open debut at Chambers Bay after finding his way through the Japanese qualifier.

While others have taken the limelight in the lead up the Aussie pair are quietly ready to surprise.

“I’m here this week at the US Open and everyone has got a chance,” says Barnes, whose previous major experience is two missed cuts at the British Open.

“I think I was a little overawed with the two British Opens (2010-11) and I like playing golf in America – I played a lot of amateur golf here and coming to a new course where not many (in the field) have played just gives you that extra bit of confidence and I’ve been playing well the past few weeks.

“The golf course suits me. The hitting areas are generous, I’m driving the ball well and it’s just going to be who holes the putts. Hopefully I can be there somewhere abouts on Sunday.”

The 34-year-old New South Welshman from Muswellbrook, who plies his trade on the Japan tour, says his first real custom set of clubs has helped him to some decent finishes in recent months.

For Fraser, 36, this represents major number nine as he continues to put neck and wrist injury struggles of the past behind him.

The New South Welshman from Corowa will concede length off the tee to the majority of the field but makes up for it with short game wizardry.

“I’ve been playing pretty steady all year and I’m one of 156 blokes with two arms, two legs and a set of golf clubs this week.

“I think everyone, especially around this course, thinks they’ve got a chance. I definitely feel that way,” Fraser said.

“I remember playing in my first major at St Andrews in 2005 and I could barely take the club back on the first tee.

“If you don’t feel that you probably shouldn’t be there. It’s a huge buzz to play in a tournament like this and from a kid that grew up playing in a small country town with about 5000 people and a whole heap of sheep and cows, to come and play in a third US Open, for me it’s pretty cool.”

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