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Fran Quinn's 68 a 1st-day highlight at US Open

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm •  Published: June 12, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — For the past 18 years, Fran Quinn never had the time to play the U.S. Open.

He had more important things to do — like scratching out a living on the Tour.

Now that he's finally here, he's making the most of it.

In the field for the first time since 1996, Quinn shot a 2-under 68 on Thursday to join three other players in a tie for second — three shots behind Martin Kaymer.

In the process, the 49-year-old Massachusetts player authored the first chapter of what could become one of the feel-good stories of this U.S. Open.

Quinn has 15-year-old son Owen carrying his clubs and his late father's memory on his mind.

"It's a dream," he said, "and I hope I don't wake up until Sunday."

For someone whose career has mostly been spent in golf's equivalent of the minor leagues, this was the round of a lifetime.

Quinn's best finish at a U.S. Open came in 1994, when he wound up 43rd at Oakmont. He missed the cut two years later at Oakland Hills and hadn't been back to one since.

"I had other opportunities to go to the qualifying, but unfortunately — I had been out on the Tour a lot and I was right on the cusp of getting my card out there," Quinn said. "You couldn't really afford not to play. So unfortunately, you had to skip the Open at times."

He has four wins on the Tour but none since the 2010 Panama Claro Championship. He missed the cut in his only PGA Tour event last year, the Travelers Championship, and also was cut in eight of the 13 tournaments on the Tour that year and finished 177th on the money list.

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