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Local hero Fred Funk will be fan favorite at Congressional

Funk BETHESDA, Md. -- Fred Funk turns 55 years old on Tuesday , and he knows his days of playing in the U.S. Open are numbered. That's why this week is so important to him.
Funk survived a 36-hole qualifier two weeks ago to earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Congressional, a mere 20 minutes from where he was born. When he walked off the golf course after qualifying on June 6, Funk choked up and had tears in his eyes when asked what it meant to him to make it into the Open.
"I didn't really expect that because I didn't know I had that kind of feelings or emotions in me for that at the moment," Funk said on Monday.
This week won't be any easier. Funk will receive a massive amount of support not only for being a hometown boy, but he also graduated from the University of Maryland, where he was the golf coach from 1982-1988 before heading out to the PGA Tour.
Funk will also have his son Taylor, 15, on the bag this week. With the final round of the U.S. Open falling on Father's Day, Funk would love nothing more than to make the cut and spend the holiday playing in the national open with his son caddying for him in front of a hometown crowd.
"I think that would be the whipped cream on the whole week if we could do that," Funk said. "And then if anything else above that happens, then we'll go from there."
The good news for Funk is he couldn't be playing any better coming into the toughest event of the year. On Sunday, Funk shot a final-round 62 to finish T3 at the Greater Hickory Classic on the Champions Tour . Funk still believes he has plenty of ammo left for Congressional.
"I still have high expectations," Funk said. "I'm not here just to walk two rounds or four rounds and just show up. I want to be able to be competitive, and I truly believe I can still be competitive when I'm playing well and feeling good."
(Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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by Kevin Cunningham