Notes Norman Down But Not Out


2005 U.S. Senior OpenKETTERING, Ohio -- Greg Norman may be down the leaderboard at the U.S. Senior Open, but he's not counting himself out.
Norman shot an up-and-down 2-under 69 on Saturday and stands at 6-under 207, five shots behind co-leaders Loren Roberts and Craig Stadler heading into the final round of the U.S. Senior Open.
Not surprisingly, Norman still thinks he can win.
``I got off to a pretty good start today,'' Norman said after going 5 under in a five-hole span on the front nine. ``I haven't played the back nine well all week. Hopefully there's one in there for me.''
Norman had back surgery earlier this year and is just coming back. He played well last week at the Senior British Open in his first over-50 event, and has shown signs of being his old dominating self this week at NCR Country Club.
A five-shot deficit isn't insurmountable in the pressure cooker of any major championship. Norman finished while the final groups were still on the course, but he was already thinking about what he needed to do on Sunday.
``You know the leader is going to shoot 1- or 2-under, so that means I've got to shoot around 64 to really have a shot at it,'' he said. ``You never know.''
As he stood over a 12-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole, Tom Watson appeared poised to add to his lead at the U.S. Senior Open. Instead, it was the beginning of a debacle.
``I had about 12 feet and I rolled it by about 2 feet, and I shoved it and lipped it out and rolled it back about 6 feet, then missed it coming back,'' Watson said.
The double-bogey dropped him two shots behind leader Loren Roberts. The shock didn't wear off right away, either. Watson played the final 12 holes in even-par, unable to make a charge.
He now has little margin for error.
``I'm still in the golf tournament,'' he said. ``I can't make the mistakes I did today, that's for sure. I can only afford maybe one mistake tomorrow. So that's my game plan: one mistake is all I can afford.''
Here are a few more facts and figures about the incredible record of Arnold Palmer, who said on Friday that he was through playing in major championships.
He appeared in 32 U.S. Opens, including 31 in a row from 1953-83, and had 10 top-5 finishes and 13 top-10s. He won the Open in 1960 and was second in 1962, '63 and '66. Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are the only players to have won U.S. Open, Senior Open and U.S. Amateur championships.
Palmer appeared in 25 consecutive U.S. Senior Opens from 1981 through this year at NCR Country Club, winning in 1981 and finishing second in 1984.
He played in five U.S. Amateurs, winning in 1954.
Palmer participated in 62 USGA championships, winning three times.
Dana Quigley started the third round of the U.S. Senior Open tied for 45th place, 11 shots back of co-leaders Tom Watson, Loren Roberts and Craig Stadler.
By the time he finished, he'd cut that gap to eight shots behind co-leaders Stadler and Roberts.
``I don't think you're going to see a lot of guys at my score today,'' he said after shooting a 5-under 66 that left him at 3-under 210 through 54 holes. ``First of all, it's getting deeper in the week and the pressure increases a bit. People are thinking that every shot hurts a lot more. And I think it's set up harder. The greens got a little bit quicker today.''
Quigley's streak of 278 consecutive starts on the Champions Tour ended last week when he did not make the trip to the Senior British Open.
For Saturday's round, Quigley sported a pink hat and a Hawaiian shirt.
``I'm going to come right back with it tomorrow, too,'' he said with a laugh. ``Flowered pink tomorrow. If I shoot 66 again, I'll put on pink underwear, believe me.''
Asked if he could catch the leaders, whom he trailed by six strokes at the end of his round, Quigley said, ``Stranger things have happened. I could come out and shoot one of Tiger's rounds. As a matter of fact, I'd like to have him come in and shoot for me.''
The tie between Craig Stadler and Loren Roberts marked the first time there had been co-leaders after three rounds of a Senior Open since 1989. ... News that bodes well for Roberts, a seniors ``rookie'': two of the last three winners were playing in their first Senior Open. ... Should Roberts win, he would be the youngest Senior Open winner ever at 50 years, 1 month and 7 days. ... Tom Watson, who won the Senior British Open last week, is seeking his first back-to-back wins since 1980 on the PGA Tour.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Senior Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Senior Open