Loren Roberts yields spotlight to Watson


CARMEL, Ind. ' Even though Loren Roberts is fresh off a win at the Senior British Open, Tom Watson has been the center of attention this week at the U.S. Senior Open.
Roberts understands. His win came just a week after Watson nearly won the British Open.
Instead of feeling slighted, Roberts appreciates what Watsons performance has done for the sport. Roberts said more people noticed his Senior British Open win than he expected.
I think its a direct result of all the notoriety that Tom kind of got for golf, Roberts said.
Roberts has placed in the top six in five of his past seven senior events. He got off to a good start on Thursday, shooting a 4-under 68 in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open. That leaves him tied for seventh place.
Roberts will have a chance to match or surpass Watsons feat at the British Open next year. His win at the Senior British Open automatically qualified him for next years regular British Open.
I would probably say of all the Open rotation, that might be the one that I would possibly have a chance to play well, Roberts said. Im looking forward to it. I mean, how could you not look forward to going back to the old course?

EVENTS TOO CLOSE: Greg Norman said this week hed prefer more time between the British Open, the Senior British Open and the U.S. Senior Open.
The three events are held during consecutive weeks. Norman was still suffering from jet lag after shooting a 6-under 66 on Thursday.
Golf-wise, it really doesnt bother me, playing three in a row, he said. I really wish they could get together and separate them for the good of all of us ' for the players and everybody.
Norman said if not for the prestige of the events, hed skip at least one of them.
If they werent the three tournaments they were, I wouldnt play three in a row, he said. Flipping from one side of the Atlantic to the other, I wouldnt do it. You know, I didnt do it in my younger days, I wouldnt do it when I am 54.

WATSON OK: Watson could have used the kind of extra time that Norman suggests.
Watson said he felt sick after eating Chinese food toward the end of his stay in Britain and missed Tuesdays practice round.
He regained enough strength to practice Wednesday, and said he felt fine Thursday.
I probably lost a little weight, he said. I didnt feel too weak out there today. I felt weak yesterday. I really felt weak yesterday.
Watson shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday, and is tied for 25th place.
The course played tough for me today, he said. It didnt play tough for all the rest of these guys today. The rest of these guys shot a pretty low number out there today.

VAUGHAN STRONG:: Bruce Vaughan has found his form.
The 52-year-old from Hutchinson, Kan., didnt finish in the top 10 in any event this season until an eighth-place showing last week at the Senior British Open.
Vaughan was strong again to start the U.S. Senior Open, shooting a 4-under 68 on opening day. He felt he could have done better.
I left a few putts out there, got away with a few shots, he said. And played OK, you know, nothing crazy, nothing bad. So Im happy with it, and a little disappointed.
His formula for success seems simple.
I just kept the ball in front of me and didnt do anything stupid.

ALLEM PLAYS WELL: South African Fulton Allem shot a 5-under 67 and is tied with Andy Bean for fifth place.
He birdied three of his last four holes to pull within one shot of co-leaders Joey Sindelar, Greg Norman, Dan Forsman and Tim Jackson.
Allem hasnt placed better than 15th in his past eight Champions Tour events. He finished second in the Allianz Championship.
Allems career highlight came when he beat Norman to win the Southwestern Bell Colonial in 1993

MARION REPLACES SOBB: Jim Sobb withdrew Thursday because of a lower back injury. It would have been the Barrington, Ill. natives second U.S. Senior Open.
Kevin Marion of Lake Forest, Ill., took his place and shot a 3-over 75 in the opening round.
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