He stands 5-foot-9 and weighs all of 125 pounds. But make no mistake. In the high school sports world, Cole Hammer is a heavyweight.
He's playing in the U.S. Open for kid's sake. He's 15-years-old. He'll be a sophomore in the fall at
Imagine a 10th-grader playing in the World Series or Super Bowl or World Cup?
Hammer teed off this morning at Chambers Bay Country Club in University Place, Wash., as the third-youngest player in the 115-year history of the storied tournament.
On the heels of another young Texan, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth from Dallas Jesuit (Texas)
, winning the Masters, Hammer is furthering the notion that the Lone Star State produces golfing prodigies.
Hammer, who began playing golf at age 2, shot rounds of 64 and 68 in Dallas last week to qualify for the Open. He's already verbally committed to the University of Texas.
He played a practice round with Spieth, one of his role models, on Monday. Before teeing off this morning, in front of reporters, he fought back tears.
Even for a kid nicknamed "Hammer Time," the moment was rather overwhelming.
He told reporters earlier in the week: "Playing with all these pros … I mean, you see them on TV. You kind of look up to them so you know it's really cool to be able to play with them, hit balls next to them. Hitting next to Rory [McIlroy], that's pretty special for me being 15, to come out here and playing against all these guys. It's a dream come true."