Erik Justesen accepts his position in his sport.
He's good, no doubt about that, as he's considered one of the best golfers in Cal State Stanislaus history, thanks in part to being one stroke from an NCAA Division II individual championship two years ago.
But he knows that he's one of many golfers in this week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
He hopes to stand out among greats like Tiger Woods, the most recognizable figure in golf.
“Unless you're Tiger Woods and obliterating tournament records,” Justesen explained, “I think if I make lots of pars and shoot birdies here and there, I can be right in there.”
Justesen's U.S. Open experience — his first after failing through local qualifying tournaments the two previous years — begins Thursday at a golf course he's very familiar with. He's caddied there numerous times, and he's currently listed as a Pebble Beach part-time caddie. It's also a place he visited about once a semester when he was playing for Cal State Monterey Bay, which was before transferring to Stanislaus in order to be eligible for the D-II tournament.
Monterey Bay, at the time, was serving its two-year probationary period after moving up to D-II.
His accolades at Stanislaus include earning All-American status twice, winning back-to-back conference individual championships and nearly capturing the national title in 2008.
Now, Justesen is an active Canadian Tour player.
His high point in his pro career happened June 7, when he qualified for the U.S. Open after firing a nine-under 133 at a Sectional Qualifier at Sacramento's Del Paso Country Club.
“This means the world to me,” Justesen said. “This is what every golfer in my position works for.”
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