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McChord reservist trains for U.S. Open

Ryan Coghill has eyes on big show

A1C Ryan Coghill and his father, Monte Coghill, have their sights set on the 2016 U.S. Open. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Mark Twain once opined that the game of golf is a good walk spoiled.

Ryan Coghill, a reservist with the 446th Airlift Wing, doesn't think so.

"I picked up a golf club when I was eight years old," he told me as we sat in the clubhouse at McChord Field's Whispering Firs Golf Course, recently.

A refinance technician in his civilian job, Coghil, serves with the wing's 36th Aerial Port Squadron.

"By the time I was 13, I was competing in tournaments."

He regularly shoots in the low 70s.

Coghill's lifelong goal now is to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Open. The Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania will host the event.

"That's my goal, my dream," Coghill emphasized.

His father and coach, Monte Coghill, is central to his son's success. He raised his son, made sure he got a good education, and pointed him in the direction of mastering golf.

"I think his chances of qualifying are very good," the elder Coghill said.  

During the recent U.S. Open held at Chambers Bay, the younger Coghill volunteered to work the tournament. Before the Open, Fox Sports One filmed and interviewed him about his golf game.

"It was the best experience because of the camaraderie we built being able to play," Coghill said.

He also played in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord tournament, where he and his team took first place. But there is a long jump between being good on the local level and being selected as an amateur player for next year's Open.

"He has to touch those clubs four, five times a week and practice," the elder Coghill said.

"He's right," added his son.  "I practice four or five hours a day now; it takes a lot of dedication and practice to be able to qualify."

Golf legend Sam Snead, winner of 82 Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) events, would agree.

"Practice puts brains in your muscles," he once pointed out.

When not practicing, father and son usually play several rounds every weekend.

"It's also a good time for us to bond," the younger Coghill said.

A few minutes later, the two got ready to head out.

"Don't give up on your dreams; I certainly haven't," Coghill said.  

"At any age," his father added.

Sounds like that "good walk" has already begun.

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