O'Meara, Calcavecchia near lead at rain-delayed Sr. Open

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2011, 1:16 am

TOLEDO, Ohio – Olin Browne likes old stuff. That’s a perfect attitude for someone playing on the over-50 tour.

On a course he didn’t know but has come to love, Browne followed a record-tying 64 with a solid 69 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over a talent-laden leaderboard in the rain-delayed second round of the U.S. Senior Open.

“I really like this old style,” he said of venerable Inverness Club.

Mark O’Meara, who shot a 68, was one of a number of major championship winners lurking close to Browne. He was one stroke back.

“Eight-under after two rounds around this golf course is good,” O’Meara said. “I’ve got my work cut out for me because there’s a lot of good players on that leaderboard.”

Browne, who led by two strokes after matching the tournament’s low first-round score, had a double-bogey and a bogey but added five birdies– including 3s on the two closing par 4s. He was at 9-under 133 at Inverness, which has hosted four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, a U.S. Amateur and the 2003 U.S. Senior Open.

Inverness, famous as the first club to officially welcome pros to compete at a U.S. Open in 1920, is growing on Browne.

“I hadn’t played here before,” he said after completing his second round under cloudy skies. “I wasn’t here for the PGAs and I wasn’t 50 in ’03. It’s just a really cool layout. I love the way the holes are framed. I love how the greens are set up.”

No wonder he likes it so much: He’s been tearing it up.

Then again, he played a course softened by 4 inches of rain in the last week. The forecast calls for high heat and humidity the next two days, which could turn greens that have been balky into glass.

O’Meara, winner of the 1998 Masters and British Open, escaped a couple of shots that were offline to remain on Browne’s heels. He made a slight change in his swing on Tuesday after flying home from the Senior British Open the previous day.

“I’ve got to be committed to go ahead and make sure I’m aggressive through the ball,” he said, as if reminding himself. “Today when I did it right, I hit a lot of quality shots. But there were a couple of times I hit wayward ones.”

Mark Calcavecchia (67), Joey Sindelar (66) and Michael Allen (69) were at 135. Peter Senior (67) was three shots behind Browne, with Corey Pavin(69), Trevor Dodds (69) and Kiyoshi Murota (69) at 137.

There’s no real secret to winning a major, said Calcavecchia, who won the 1989 British Open.

“You can’t make big, big numbers on the weekend,” said Calcavecchia, in his second full year on the Champions Tour. “It’s not like it’s rocket science or noon news. Doubles or triple (bogeys) are never good, no matter what day you make them. But especially on the weekend of a major.”

He set the stage for the final two rounds by playing bogey-free with four birdies.

A 2-hour, 45-minute rain delay in the morning prevented the last seven threesomes from finishing the second round. Play was suspended by darkness, with those left on the course to return early Saturday morning.

Among the other household names within six shots of the lead were John Huston, Larry Nelson, Jeff Sluman,Jay Haas, Nick Price, Steve Pate, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer and Russ Cochran, the winner of last week’s Senior British Open.

Browne said after the opening round that leading the tournament didn’t mean much with three rounds left. Then he went out and played well enough to hold onto the top spot.

He was level par through his first 16 holes, but then hit a 6-iron from 185 yards to 5 feet at 17 for birdie. At the final hole, he hit a big drive which left him only 86 yards to the green. His wedge came to rest 6 feet from the hole before he hit another short putt.

The 52-year-old, who lives in Florida, hasn’t won a tournament since the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship. His other PGA Tour victories came at the 1998 Travelers and 1999 Colonial.

He is winless in 50 starts on the senior circuit, although he started this year with five top-10s finishes.

But he feels like he has an ally in Inverness.

Allen and Sindelar, among the last players to conclude the second round before darkness fell, took different routes to the same 36-hole score. Allen pulled even at 9 under with Browne only to bogey two of the final three holes. Sindelar, who played his collegiate golf at Ohio State, birdied the last two holes in a 66 that matched the low round of the day.

“In the middle of that back nine, you hang, you hang, and you try to get to a place where you get close enough to have something happen,” Sindelar said.

The top of the leaderboard is packed with players who have captured major championships before turning 50: Pavin (1995 U.S. Open), Jones (1996 U.S. Open), Nelson (1981 and `83 PGA Championships, ’83 U.S. Open), Sluman (1988 PGA), Price (1992 and `94 PGA, ’94 British Open), Langer (1985 and ’93 Masters) and Kite (1992 U.S. Open).

Price, six shots back after a 69, isn’t conceding anything.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend now,” he said. “That is the best I’ve played out of the last five rounds. I’m going to have to shoot low on the weekend, but if I hit the ball like I did today I’ve got a chance.”

So do a lot of others.

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.