Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Former 49er Curl feeling good again

   Jeff Curl, the former Charlotte 49ers golf star, is playing in his first U.S. Open this week and it comes at the same place -- the Olympic Club -- that his father, former tour player, Rod Curl, played in his first Open 46 years ago.
  "That's pretty cool," Curl said during a practice round prior to his first major championship appearance.
   The course has changed significantly since his father played it but the elder Curl is in San Francisco, sharing the experience with his son.
   Jeff Curl finished at Charlotte in 2000 and finally feels his golf career coming together. A full-time member of the Nationwide Tour, Curl is coming off an eighth-place finish last week and he's healthy for the first time in years.
   He's had two shoulder surgeries, a torn ligament in his ankle and he cracked five bones in his back last November when he was "goofing around."
   After living in Charlotte for five years, Curl recently married and moved to Birmingham, Ala.
   "Marriage changed my life," he said. "I've settled down a little bit."
  This will be Curl's third PGA Tour start and he isn't intimidated. He's played with and against many of the players in the field and spent the weekend playing practice rounds with Ernie Els and Steve Marino among others.
   "I always tell people that when I'm healthy, I feel I'm as good as anyone," Curl said. "But the times I've been healthy have been few and far between. I really started feeling great about a month ago.
   "Obviously, this is the U.S. Open but my game is built on ball-striking. I won't surprise me if I shoot 82 or if I finish in the top 20. I feel good about my game."


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