Jimmy Hervol said he had a tough couple of days battling Torrey Pines, the site of the 2021 U.S. Open, earlier this month. But, despite missing the weekend cut, Hervol said the experience is one that will benefit his young professional golf career.
“I still have that belief, if not even more now, that I belong out there, that’s where I’m supposed to be,” Hervol said. “There really isn’t a tournament that’s a bigger stage than the U.S. Open. Everything else will feel a little less than that tournament for me, which is what I am trying to do. Just dumb it down, keep it simple and play golf.”
Hervol carded a 79 in the first round on June 17 and an 81 the following day on a tough track that saw even some of the best in the world post big numbers. Nestled along the cliffs of La Jolla, just north of San Diego, the course is known for deep rough, undulating greens and canyons that, while scenic, can swallow up errant tee shots with ease.
The Hopkinton High School graduate and former UConn star admitted to being a little nervous as he played in a group just a couple of holes behind Phil Mickelson and Xander Schauffele, two of the biggest names in the field.
“You get out there and there’s thousands of people and you can hear the roars from the other holes,” Hervol said. “In that moment, you feel the nerves, but it’s also just super exciting.”
Hervol said his ball striking let him down a bit the first day and he was forced to scramble too much on tricky greens to score.
“On [the day before the tournament], I felt a little tight, not physically but my nerves were getting up there a bit,” Hervol said. “When you’re not hitting greens, it’s going to be really tough. It’s the U.S. Open course, so it’s long, the rough is thick, and the greens were pretty fast.”
He soaked up quite a bit from his time in San Diego, however, watching some of the big names tee it up on the range and spending time playing with Lanto Griffin, a past winner on the PGA Tour who finished the U.S. Open tied for 35th.
Griffin, who is a decade older than Hervol, shared some advice on playing in a U.S. Open and getting to the PGA Tour.
“He talked about staying patient, during this tournament but in pro golf in general,” Hervol said. “He played mini-tour stuff for seven years before he broke out and got on the PGA Tour. You just have to keep working hard and good things will come, even when you don’t expect them.”
Hervol earned his spot at the U.S. Open by finishing second in a qualifying event in New York. He was one of only 66 golfers to make it through the qualifiers, out of more than 9,000 hopefuls. He was joined in San Diego by his parents, his girlfriend and several other family members and friends. Hervol has also had the backing of people from Hopkinton to Storrs and everywhere in between. Since he qualified for the Open, he said he’s probably received around 500 calls, texts or social media messages.
Hopkinton Country Club member Doug Brown served as his caddy during the tournament and did a great job, Hervol said.
Since finishing his career at UConn and turning pro, Hervol has spent time on the Minor League Golf Tour in Florida. Just hours after John Rahm won the U.S. Open, Hervol was boarding a flight to Georgia to play in the first Forme Tour event, a U.S.-based alternative to the McKenzie Tour, which was interrupted by the pandemic.
After the summer winds down, Hervol will turn his attention to Q-School, a multi-tournament qualifying event through which players can earn status on the PGA or Korn Ferry Tours. Having played in a U.S. Open will only fuel his desire to get back to big-time events, he said.
“I am better for just being out there,” Hervol said. “I’m looking forward to the next opportunity for sure.”