ARDMORE, Pa. — LaRue Temple has to take off Sunday from working behind the bar.
He's needed on the bag of a U.S. Open contender.
Amateur Michael Kim should be one of those feel-good stories at Merion Golf Club as he makes his charge up the leaderboard.
But it's his caddie who was feeling the Philly love on Saturday.
"For probably the first 12 holes today, he was getting more cheers than I was," the 19-year-old Kim said. "Everybody was going 'LaRue!' 'LaRue!' It was cool though."
That's a tough break for Temple's bar customers; he says he makes a mean Long Island Iced Tea.
"But my margaritas are pretty good, also," he said.
Temple has caddied at Merion since 1997 and planned to attend the Open as a fan. He was just hanging around the 18th hole on Monday when he went looking for a friend. On his walk, he bumped into a club official who offered him a spot in a pinch.
So he slipped on his bib, grabbed a bucket hat and went to work.
The partnership flourished on Saturday.
Kim made four birdies in a six-hole stretch, capped by a 15-foot putt at No. 15 that lowered his score to even par.
"We just wanted to keep having fun, keep going," Kim said.
But he bogeyed 16 and 18 and double-bogeyed 17 and finished 1-over 71. He's in 10th place, five strokes behind leader Phil Mickelson.
"I kept looking at the leaderboard, not because I wanted to know how I was doing in the tournament, but it was so cool to see my name next to those names like Mickelson, (Luke) Donald, Char Schwartzel," Kim said.
The 30-year-old Temple, who graduated from Philadelphia's Olney High School, knows the feeling. He normally works at Merion from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then starts a 9-hour bartending shift around 5 p.m. During weekends, he works weddings spinning tunes as DJ LaRue.
Before Temple suggested clubs on the course, he handed out bats on the baseball field. Temple worked as a Philadelphia Phillies batboy in 1999 under manager Terry Francona.
As a teenager, Temple was an autograph hound, collecting signatures on bats, hats, cards, anything. Eventually, that got him work for his favorite team, and he was soon high-fiving his favorite players at ol' Veterans Stadium.
Temple said his Facebook page was "blowing up" with well wishes from friends.
|Fla Gulf Coast||60|
|William & Mary||75||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||71|
|Mount St Marys||75|
|(18) Oklahoma St||61||FINAL|
|(7) West Virginia||67|
|(2) Notre Dame||69|