The last time Ollie Schniederjans played in a major championship, he was a 21-year-old amateur.
He finished tied for 12th.
Schniederjans, he of the long last name and renowned haircut (he's one of just a handful of professional golfers who plays without a hat) became just the third amateur since 1960 to make the cut at both the U.S. Open and the Open Championship in the same year when he pulled the trick in 2015.
Since then, the Georgia Tech alum turned professional and immediately won on the Web.com Tour. He's spent the last two seasons on the PGA Tour, with his best finish being a runner-up at last year's Wyndham Championship (his best result this year was a tie for third at the Waste Management Phoenix Open).
This week at Shinnecock Hills will mark Schniederjans' first major championship as a professional after he shot 6-under par at his sectional qualifying site in early June to earn a spot.
And while Schniederjans isn't as high-profile as the fellow members of his 2011 high school class (he grew up playing alongside the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, and five-time LPGA Tour winner Jessica Korda), he's progressing nicely after a four-year college experience where he earned a degree in Business Management - unlike Spieth and Thomas, who left school early.
This week's U.S. Open could be a jumping-off point for Schienderjans, who turns 25 on Friday
"It's just nice to have something good happen and have the opportunity to play in a major championship and gain that experience," he told theScore. "Maybe something really cool will happen."
Schniederjans has been making a name for himself this year, as he's become a bit of a connoisseur of the "stinger" - a low-flying tee shot that pierces the air and was made popular by Woods in the early 2000s. He laughed when asked if that shot was going to make an appearance this week at the U.S. Open.
"I always hit the stinger. It comes out every week," Schniederjans said of the shot, which he's managed to hit well over 300 yards with an iron. "This new 3-wood I think I can hit a really good stinger with this week. That will be in play a lot."
It's part of a change in strategy for Schniederjans, who said he'll put a new driver in his bag this week to try to get more distance off the tee, and that he'll use his 3-wood when he must find a fairway.
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Schniederjans added that he's been working on this strategy for the last few weeks, as he's trying to take better advantage of courses from the tee onward.
"I'm not losing shots off the tee, but I think I could be gaining more," he said.
He chuckled when asked if he knew anything about Shinnecock Hills - which has knee-high rough alongside the fairways on most holes - prior to arriving this week, admitting his knowledge was mostly from watching a series of flyover videos online.
However, he played both Saturday and Sunday before taking Monday off, and will play nine holes Tuesday and Wednesday before the tournament begins Thursday.
Schniederjans has made nine straight cuts on the PGA Tour and has only missed three all season, but said he's been a little "impatient and frustrated" throughout the last two months with no high finishes.
He feels confident that could change this week, and added "this is just the beginning" in terms of his major championship experience as a professional.
"I've got to put the switch on that and work on how I react and respond to things that happen out there, and just try to focus on everything I can control," Schniederjans said. "I think I can get a little better at everything and do something big."
Adam Stanley has written about golf since 2011 for PGATOUR.com, LPGA.com, and the Canadian Press, among other organizations. He's also a frequent contributor to The Globe and Mail. Find him on Twitter @adam_stanley.