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Local caddie totes bag for Quinney

When Tyler Pendergast began caddieing last year at Bandon Dunes Golf Course, he had no idea the job would one day carry him across the country to the most prestigious amateur tournament in the land.

But Pendergast, who grew up in Phoenix, had the good fortune of hooking up with Eugene's Jeff Quinney, who won a qualifying event at Bandon last month that earned him a berth in the U.S. Amateur tournament at Springfield, N.J.

With Pendergast as his caddie, Quinney has won all four of his matches at Baltusrol Golf Club to move into today's semifinals.

I'm having a great time, Pendergast said from his hotel room Thursday night. Jeff and I have become good friends, and hopefully I'm having a positive effect on his play.

Pendergast moved to Bandon last summer to work at Bandon Dunes, one of only three golf courses in the state that use caddie programs.

He went through a two-day training program and then worked five rounds for minimal pay before landing a permanent job. He gets paid a minimum of $35 per round plus tips, which can range from a couple bucks to a couple hundred.

Pendergast has worked his way up to the top 20 — a group known as the honor caddies. Some 240 caddies work Bandon Dunes, making it one of the largest caddie programs in the country, Pendergast says.

I went there clean-cut and clean-shaven, and that probably helped me get a job, said Pendergast, who also coaches basketball and baseball at Bandon High. But I'm confident about what I do. Some guys talk a good game and B.S. their way around the course. I'm just a no-nonsense guy trying to help a golfer save a few strokes and have a good time.

I'll help them with yardage distances, where to hit the ball, how to read greens — whatever advice I can give when they ask for it.

Pendergast first got paired up with Quinney at the Pacific Northwest Amateur Tournament in early July. Quinney, a senior-to-be at Arizona State whose father was born and raised in Medford, won that event and then U.S. Amateur qualifying tourney three weeks later at Bandon Dunes.

We haven't lost yet, Pendergast said.

Asked what duties he offers Quinney besides carrying his bag, Pendergast said, I think maybe I've had a little bit of a calming effect on him. Mainly, I'm just there for support, but he's been asking me questions about how to play a shot or what club to use, and I've helped him read a few greens.

Quinney has quickly gained a reputation as the comeback kid after rallying the last two days. He came from three shots down with five holes to play to defeat Hunter Mahan 2 and — on Friday. In other matches, England's Luke Donald beat Georgia Tech's Bryce Molder 1-up, James Driscoll beat Jerry Courville 1-up and David Eger beat England's Gary Wolstenholme 1-up.