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McMahon created a Twitter account for his friend this week, then dubbed him “The People’s Player.” Tobiason is a normal guy from a normal family, McMahon said, who is finally getting his chance.

On Tobiason’s second shot of the day, he heard his father say, “Stick it” as the ball rolled a few feet from the pin.

Four men with beers in each hand happened upon Tobiason on the back nine. They had never met him before but turned up their collars in support. When Tobiason yelled, “Get down! Get down!” after a shot, they picked up his cry with alcohol-fueled vigor.

“It sounds like his father’s here,” Joan Tobiason said. Then she laughed.

Tobiason’s thoughts kept returning to his father. Focus, at times, slipped away as he bogeyed two of the last three holes.

The spectacle of the U.S. Open crept up on Tobiason, too. On No. 16, he looked around in awe as the reality started swirled around him. He was here. He was doing it. Then he three-putted the hole for a bogey. That was one of four putts for birdies that lipped out.

That added up to a 4-over 75. Keep him at par Friday, McMahon thinks, and they’ll survive the cut.

As Tobiason stood on the practice green after the round and readied for an afternoon of work, the man who wasn’t there seemed very much present.

What would his father have said? Tobiason didn’t hesitate.

“Good job, little guy,” Tobiason said. “I’m proud of you.”