CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- While conducting final preparations last night for this week’s PGA Championship, UTA redshirt freshman Zach Cole told Stuart Deane the only thing that would make the experience as his caddy any better would be to play a round with Dustin Johnson.
While waiting to play the 14th hole during today’s practice round, Cole got his wish.
The world’s top ranked golfer was playing as a single just behind Deane and Cole, who were also playing alone. After Deane hit his tee shot, he noticed Johnson coming off the 13th green and decided to wait so he could join.
“Yesterday was, obviously, fantastic with Brian Berger and Daniel Harman in the practice round,” said Deane, playing in his 12th career PGA event and second PGA Championship. “Last night (Zach) said ‘Coach, I think about the only thing you can do to top this is play with Dustin Johnson.’ We got that done, too.”
The twosome played out the rest of the back nine, combining intense tournament preparation with frequent conversations. Cole got an up-close look at how Johnson prepares to compete at one of the golf world’s major championships.
“It was awesome getting to meet the number one player in the world and actually getting to see in person how he hits it and (how he prepares),” said Cole.
Deane, a native of Brisbane, Australia, conducted his final practice round early this morning, going off the 10th tee at 6:30 a.m. (CDT) – the same time he is scheduled to open tournament play tomorrow morning. The round was his first look at Quail Hollow Club’s back nine after he played the front nine three times in as many days.
Cole, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, is serving as Deane’s caddy at the PGA Championship. He is taking over the duties from Deane’s wife, Elizabeth, who performance that role at the PGA Professional Championship last month in Oregon.
“Being here at the PGA Championship is incredible, a dream come true,” said Cole, who redshirted as a true freshman at UTA last season and will have four years of eligibility remaining. “This is the best experience of my life so far. It is great to see the PGA TOUR players, how they prepare and carry themselves and to be on an amazing course. They are doing what I hope to be doing in a few years, so this experience is definitely a strong motivator.”
Deane is scheduled to open the tournament tomorrow morning at 6:25 a.m. (CDT) off the 10th tee in a group that includes 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Shane Lowry from Ireland and Pablo Larrazabal from Spain.
The group will go off the first tee to begin Friday's second round at 11:35 a.m. The low 70 scores and ties will advance to the weekend's final two rounds.
UTA grad Greg Gregory is scheduled to go off the first tee to open Thursday's first round at 8:10 a.m. (CDT) and is paired with K.T. Kim from the Republic of Korea and James Hahn from Alameda, Calif. The group is scheduled to play Friday’s second round beginning at 1:20 p.m. off No. 10.
The first two rounds will be televised live on TNT from 12 Noon - 6 p.m. TNT will also provide coverage of the weekend's rounds from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., while CBS will televise live coverage from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
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