Semiahmoo golf pro Jeff Coston, 58, recently asked renowned golfer and friend Tom Lehman if he could give Coston a pill for success what would it be?
Lehman didn't suggest an alteration to Coston's game. Instead, he simply told the Blaine-based golfer he needed the right opportunity to present itself.
Coston has found golf success in myriad ways. He's fostered a lasting relationship with the Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club community as an instructor for nearly 20 years and has established himself as one of the top senior golfers in the area, competing in countless high-profile tournaments following multiple stints on the PGA Tour during his early years.
Coston now is hoping his opportunity to flourish on a national stage comes during the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Thursday-Sunday, July 10-13, at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.
Coston earned his U.S. Open ticket by winning a qualifier two weeks ago with a 5-under at the Canterwood Golf and Country Club in Gig Harbor. It's the fourth time he's qualified for the prestigious tournament. It will be his 20th major, and more than anything, he's looking forward to going toe-to-toe with the world's best seniors.
"I enjoy the opportunity to test myself," Coston said in a phone interview, "the opportunity to make some noise and do something extraordinary, to put myself in a position to do what I've worked my whole life for, the opportunity to face competition on the highest level."
The competition Coston seeks will be available with big names such as Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and defending U.S. Open champ Kenny Perry joining him in Edmond.
In preparation, Coston said he's been working a lot on his game with golf pro Mike Bender when he's not coaching at his golf school, and he's looking to carry over the momentum from his qualifier win.
He'll be bringing longtime caddie Curt Lindsey with him and has already scheduled to play a round with Lehman the Wednesday before the tournament starts.
"It's always good to have momentum and to have some good images," Coston said, "have a good mindset and just hang on to that mindset."
Coston will be returning to the U.S. Senior Open for the first time since 2009. His schedule was too full to compete in qualifying tournaments the past two years, he said. Coston didn't make the cut five years ago at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., but he finished 40th in 2008 at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., and took 33rd at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
He does have some experience playing Oak Tree National, albeit was 14 years ago. Coston admitted he doesn't remember much about the course but does know driving the ball off the tee will be paramount to his success.
It's an aspect of his game he's feverishly been working on, even though he already considers himself a strong driver.
"It's a really nice golf course and a really nice test," Coston said. "Driving the ball is of the utmost importance there. I've spent time after school hitting lots of drives."
Coston said the key for him will be limiting mistakes and taking advantage of opportunities he creates. Most of all, he wants to take pleasure in playing at the U.S Senior Open, which should alleviate the inherent pressures that come with competing on a national stage.
"One goal is to be crazy and enjoy myself and enjoy the experience," Coston said. "I don't want to go down there and put so much pressure. That's not the best way for me. ... I've been there before. I'm more comfortable in my own skin with TV cameras than I was and with thousands of people watching."
August 1st will mark 20 years Coston has been partnering with Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club, and surely the anniversary will be a bit sweeter with a strong U.S. Senior Open and a few good stories to tell.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
2014 U.S. SENIOR OPEN
When: Thursday-Sunday, July 10-13
Where: Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.
TV: ESPN2 & NBC
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.