Will Grimmer knew he earned his way into the U.S. Open in his first shot in 2014, though the slender 17-year-old also knew he didn’t look the part.

“Someone was like, ‘What is this kid, 125 (pounds) with a couple of Titleists in his pocket?’ ” Grimmer said, smiling as he recalled a quip from a television analyst.

Four years later, and now a whopping 145 pounds, an inch taller at 6 feet, and coming off his junior season at Ohio State, Grimmer this week returns to the U.S. Open. The last time it was at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. This time it’s at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, New York.

>> Video: Ohio State's Will Grimmer poised to tackle U.S. Open again

His practice rounds headed toward his 2:31 p.m. tee time Thursday will be his first on the legendary course known for its swirling winds and fast greens.

But what’s more important, Grimmer said, is it will be his second U.S. Open, his wide-eyed approach in 2014 replaced by a focused squint this time. He said that was part of the pre-trip conversation he had with his lifelong friend and — once again — U.S. Open caddie Michael Misleh.

“We’ve been talking a lot about that, I think it’s great to have already done this before,” Grimmer said. “We know what to expect. … There is no doubt there will be some nerves, there will be some excitement. It’s going to be fun getting to play some practice rounds with some of the big names, and being around guys like Tiger and Phil and Rickie and Bubba.

“At the same time … going into my senior year this fall, I’m that much closer to playing professional golf. The goals and expectations are much different than where they were four years ago.”

He was headed into his senior year at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati when he played at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, shooting 77-80 in the first two rounds and failing to make the cut in a tournament won by Martin Kaymer.

This time Grimmer is coming off a college season in which he averaged 72.5 strokes per round, finished fourth in the Big Ten championship and made the Open field by being the medalist with rounds of 66-69 at the Springfield Country Club sectional qualifier eight days ago. Grimmer believes he is better equipped for the Open grind.

“There’s a lot more that I have now, a lot more strength and size, maybe not too-too much,” he said. “I’m kind of drawing on all of that to help me. And I think our goals and expectations are to make the cut, to contend for low amateur, and to see what we can do on Saturday and Sunday.”

Four years ago, Grimmer’s first-round 77 included five birdies, including three straight holes after making the turn. He shot even par on his second nine.

“The biggest thing I learned is I have the ability to play with those guys,” he said. “Going into this, it’s a matter of staying patient. It’s the toughest tournament (for course setup) in the world. It’s trying to slow down, keep the nerves steady, and take it one hole, one shot at a time.”