SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.: Scott Piercy, so dejected with his practice form on the eve of the U.S. Open that he quit after four holes, was a new man on Thursday in the first round.
Taming brutal conditions on a windswept morning at Shinnecock Hills, he recorded only two bogeys to earn a share of the clubhouse lead with Englishman Ian Poulter.
Out in the first group of the day, a strong westerly that whipped across the treeless layout proved no problem for the 39-year-old from Las Vegas, a far cry from what transpired 24 hours beforehand.
"I walked off the course because I was so frustrated with my preparation," Piercy told reporters.
"I was skanking it, and I lost five balls in the first four holes. But just went home, regrouped, tried to calm my mind down, figure out what makes my golf swing tick. I was able to kind of piece it together again."
Social media helped him find the answers.
"I went back on my Instagram, looked at some swings that I posted, positions that I was in, saw some drills I was doing," Piercy said.
"Came out this morning, did it, started hitting it more solid, kind of got a feel for it, and then just ran from there."
Piercy is not a household name, but he does have a tie for second at the 2016 U.S. Open to his name, so he is not exactly in virgin territory.
Though as surprised as anyone by his sudden form transformation, he did not sound like a man overawed by the occasion, or his lofty position.
"I do this for a living," he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond)