The Colorado Buffaloes will be well represented this week at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament, and not just among the field of players.
As the tournament gets underway Thursday at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C., three people with CU ties will be inside the ropes.
Jessica Wallace, a 2012 CU graduate, will become the first former Buff to tee it up at a U.S. Women's Open. Meanwhile, both of CU's assistant golf coaches will work as caddies.
Brent Franklin, the assistant coach for the CU women's team, will caddy for Wallace, while Brandon White, the assistant for the men's team, will caddy for Carleigh Silvers. White coached Silvers at Northern Colorado.
"It's real exciting," said White, who recently completed his first season at CU after seven years as the head coach at UNC. "We've been here three days already. It's already been fun and we haven't even started the tournament yet."
For Franklin and White, the opportunity to caddy at this event for their former players is an honor. It'll be the biggest tournament either one has worked.
"I'm flattered," Franklin said. "The fact remains, (Wallace) is a very, very good player who is more than capable of making her own decisions. If I can just be a little help sometimes, that's really all I can do. I'm just trying to help whenever necessary, if it is necessary."
Franklin, who has been on the CU staff for 12 years, has caddied quite a bit over the years, including once for Wallace. He coached Wallace throughout her career at CU, and Wallace didn't waste any time picking him as her caddy. As soon as she qualified, on May 19 in Georgia, she contacted Franklin.
Through three days of practice at Pinehurst, Franklin said, "It's been great. It's always great to spend time with Jess. She's a terrific girl and she's a very good player. It's been fun to watch her play for three days."
He's eager to see how she plays during the tournament, which runs through Sunday. He said Wallace seemed to turn a corner during the second half of her practice round on Wednesday.
"I think she hit on something today with her swing," he said. "She's never been a great practice round player, but today on the last nine holes, I think probably her concentration zeroed in a little bit more, as it does for good players. She hit several fantastic shots on the last seven or eight holes. It was fun to watch."
While Franklin will try to help Wallace succeed, White will be doing the same for Silvers, who is the first former UNC player to qualify for the U.S. Open.
"For her this week, it's probably more of a comfort level, being in this big of an event," White said of being Silvers' caddy. "For her to have that trust and comfort in me being on the bag to try to keep her relaxed and at the same time try to perform at her best definitely means a lot to me."
White said he heard from Silvers within hours of her qualifying for the Open. He was grateful to CU head coach Roy Edwards, who took on more work on the recruiting trail this week so that White could be at Pinehurst.
Like Franklin, he has quite a bit of caddying experience, and said he just simply hopes to help Silvers as much as he can.
"There definitely is (pressure being the caddy), but you try not to portray that," he said. "You want to be the calming source for your player and make sure they're not nervous. There's definitely pressure because you want them to play well and you want to do your part of helping them succeed."
With practice rounds in the books as of Wednesday afternoon, Franklin and White looked forward to what they hope is a long weekend for their players.
"It's been an awesome time so far and hopefully we have four more days of fun," White said.