Greg Norman shoots 66 to share Senior Open lead

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
CARMEL, Ind. ' Greg Norman looked like his old self Thursday.
 
There were the trademark drives, the string of birdies and those customary big crowds following his every move. He even rekindled an image hed rather forget: A last-hole struggle.
 
Norman birdied four straight holes on the front nine, but a bogey on the final hole left him in a four-way tie with Joey Sindelar, Dan Forsman and amateur Tim Jackson at 6-under 66. Andy Bean and Fulton Allem are both one shot back at 67.
 
Jackson broke the record for low score by an amateur at this tournament, and he did it in his Senior Tour debut.
 
For Norman, it was a chance to show everyone that the man once dubbed the worlds best golfer hadnt lost his touch.
 
I played well today and the golf course was ready to be had. It was perfect conditions, the 54-year-old Aussie said. The greens were just receptive enough to be aggressive with the shots if you want to play em.
 
Norman and his senior tour colleagues had no problems playing on a cool, relatively calm day. Those atop the leaderboard made it look easy on the 7,316-yard course, the longest in Senior Open history.
 
Norman and Bean briefly flirted with 7 under but each bogeyed their next hole to lose sole possession of the lead. Bean finished with two bogeys on his last three holes to finish at 67.
 
Others played cleaner golf.
 
Sindelar posted three birdies on each side. Forsman, who started at No. 10, was 4 under at the turn. Neither had a bogey.
 
And the unknown Jackson, a real estate developer from Tennessee, charged back with five birdies on the final nine holes. A sixth would have broken the tie at the top, but his 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole stopped on the lip of the cup.
 
Still, Jackson broke the tournament record for low score by an amateur by two shots. Amateurs shot 68 four times in the Senior Open, the last being Rick Cloninger in 2008 on Broadmoors east course in Colorado Springs, Colo.
 
This will be something well talk about for a long time, Im sure, Jackson said.
 
Norman, Jackson and the other two low scorers already created a buzz at Crooked Stick Golf Club during the first round.
 
The courses head pro, Tony Pancake, said the 66s were a competitive course record. In the 1991 PGA Championship, won by the then-unknown John Daly, the low round was 67.
 
Norman might have shot 65, too, had he not been surprised when he walked to the 18th tee and found the hole playing 42 yards shorter than in the practice rounds. He hit into the left rough as a result, leaving him a treacherous uphill second shot. The ball landed in the front bunker, and Normans blast out of the sand wound up on the back corner of the green for a 40-foot par putt. He left it 6 feet short.
 
There is such a severe upslope, and the grain was going straight into me, the two-time British Open champion said. When youre on a keen angle on an upslope, its difficult to keep that accelerating through because your body wants to fall back. So youre not getting a full rotation.
 
No, it didnt resemble Normans 1996 Masters collapse but it was a deflating end to an otherwise meticulous round.
 
Bean and Jackson were just as good in slightly worse conditions during the afternoon, and Bean was 7 under through 15 holes until failing to close it out.
 
Jackson continued to make shots after starting his round on the back nine. He made the turn at 1 under and then birdied four straight holes to match Norman, one short of the tourney record for most consecutive birdies (five). He moved into a tie for the lead with a birdie putt at No. 7.
 
If youre going to shoot a low round at the U.S. Senior Open, this is the day, Forsman said. This course will show its teeth before its over.
 
The Shark just hopes those teeth dont get him. Again.
 
I feel like Im getting close, Norman said. Even though I played very, very well today, I feel like Im getting close to getting it all together.
 
Seven players, led by Senior British Open champion Loren Roberts and 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman, were two back at 68.
 
Last years winner, Eduardo Romero of Argentina, shot a 73.
 
The suddenly rejuvenated Tom Watson delivered on his promise of playing conservatively because of an illness that limited him to just one practice round. Watson, who lost the British Open in a playoff two weeks ago, finished Thursday with a 1-under 71.
 
Related Links:
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


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    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm