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It’s a small group, but there are local rooting interests for New Englanders in this US Open

Keegan Bradley, who has roots in Vermont, is ranked 47th in the world.Cliff Hawkins/Getty

BROOKLINE — You’ll spot more outcrops of Roxbury puddingstone on The Country Club links than actual New England golfers at the US Open this week.

And while it’s old news that our fair region churns out fewer top-tier golfers relative to other areas around the country — blame it on cold, long winters — whenever a New Englander pops up at a PGA Tour event, it’s a big deal, no matter that they may not be among the favorites to win.

“Listen, it’s hard for us up here to compete,” said Keegan Bradley of Woodstock, Vt. “I grew up getting beat by a lot of these guys in the South and California. Then as I got older, I started to beat them.


“All the younger kids ask me, ‘What do you have to do to get on tour?’ And I always give them the same answer: ‘You have to work. If you grow up here, you have to work twice as hard, if not more. When the season is here, you have to be out there and working.’ ”

With a No. 47 world ranking, Bradley is currently the top golfer from New England, which has a relatively short list — topped by Brad Faxon, Billy Andrade, and Julius Boros — of great golfers post-Francis Ouimet.

Bradley is as intense and authentic a Boston sports fan as you could find at your local sports bar — during his practice round, his left shoe bore green laces and the Celtics shamrock, and his left shoe had gold laces and the Bruins spoked-B, along with the Red Sox’ retired No. 27 in honor of his wife’s uncle, Carlton Fisk — and he will have plenty of fans of his own rooting him on from assorted spots on the course.

Of the other three New Englanders playing — Fran Quinn (Worcester), Michael Thorbjornsen (Wellesley), and Caleb Manuel (Topsham, Maine) — Bradley has the best shot at showing up among the leaders.


“This is about as good as I’ve felt,” said Bradley. “I made some pretty big leaps in my putting over the last year or so, and I’ve had a few tournaments where I haven’t really played my best but putted well and had some decent finishes, which I haven’t done in years.

“If I match up everything like I’ve done for over a month, for a while, I’m up at the top of the leaderboard.

“Listen, I love where my game is at. This US Open brings a lot of challenges. Being in Boston and home, it brings even more.”

Caleb Manuel played a practice round at TCC Monday.Cliff Hawkins/Getty

Bradley and Manuel both attended the Red Sox-A’s game Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Difference was, Bradley threw out a ceremonial first pitch while Manuel watched from his seat.

Asked why he wasn’t on the mound too, Manuel said, “I don’t know — probably because I’m 20 years old and an amateur?”

That honor will have to wait. The rising junior at UConn made it here by sharing medalist honors in the final qualifier at Century and Old Oaks Country Clubs (N.Y.) after making it through local qualifying in Connecticut.

Bradley did the honors at Fenway Park Tuesday.Elsa/Getty

The only New England golfer he’s heard of is Bradley.

“There’s the shorter season and then, I don’t know, it just takes talent and it takes a lot of time,” said Manuel, who wore a Red Sox hat during his Tuesday practice round.


“To get to this level, a lot of people get here then they get here and they kind of say, ‘Oh, I don’t belong here.’ I definitely felt that way, but it’s been a week, and now, you know, I’m honing in and I’ve got to play golf. You’ve got to tell yourself, ‘You belong here.’ ”

Fran Quinn swings away during his Tuesday practice round.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

At 57, Quinn is the oldest golfer in the 156-man field, making his fourth US Open appearance. A part-timer on the PGA Tour Champions, Quinn is a veteran of the New England golf scene. The scarcity of New England representation by no means corresponds to the talent level here, he said.

“You’ve got a lot of guys who have gone on and had some success, and a lot of us, we spend a lot of time down in Florida now,” said Quinn. “There’s a lot of really good talent up here. And it’s only getting better.”

Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.