Browne's 64 matches low U.S. Senior Open record

By Associated PressJuly 29, 2011, 1:22 am

TOLEDO, Ohio – Olin Browne has circled the globe playing professional golf for the past 27 years. He knows it takes a lot more than 18 holes and a lucky shot to win a major championship.

“Are you ready to give me the trophy today?” he asked an observer who wondered why he was so nonchalant about leading the U.S. Senior Open by two shots. “That’s why.”

Browne eagled two holes in a five-hole span coming down the stretch and finished with a 7-under 64 Thursday to take the top spot on a hot and humid day at Inverness Club.

Browne, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour in his third year on the over-50 circuit, was 1 under on the day and four shots off the lead as he came to the third hole, his 12th. After birdieing it, he hit a hybrid-3 from 216 yards that came to rest 6 feet from the pin at the fourth. He rolled that putt in for an eagle.

He followed that with a par and a birdie. His second eagle was far more dramatic.

Browne, tied for third a year ago at the U.S. Senior Open, had 97 yards left as he prepared for his third shot on the par-5 8th. His wedge covered the flag, then spun back into the cup as he cast a stunned look at caddie Otis Moore.

“The key to hitting that shot in was, first of all, you’ve got to get super lucky,” he said, a white towel over his shoulders to sop up the perspiration. “You’ve also got to hit the right distance– the wind was up and down. I managed to hit it and guess the wind properly.”

Over the six holes numbered 3 through 8, he went 6 under, and picked up five shots on par in a span of five holes.

The 64 tied for the lowest first round ever at a U.S. Senior Open, matching Bruce Fleisher (2000), R.W. Eaks (2002) and Craig Stadler (2005).

Even though Browne had never gone lower since turning 50, he’s flirted with low scores in the premier Seniors event in the U.S. before. He has had closing rounds of 65 and 66 in his previous two starts in the tournament.

Despite four birdies, the two eagles and a bogey in his lowest round on the Champions Tour, Browne wasn’t ready to draw any larger conclusions.

“You know, this game giveth and this game taketh back,” said the 52-year-old Floridian. “So I’m not all that hysterical about it right now. I’m really pleased with where I am, but there is a lot of stuff to be done yet.”

Two strokes back were Mark O’Meara and Michael Allen, who each shot bogey-free 66s.

O’Meara, whose last two PGA victories came in the 1998 Masters and British Open, used some older clubs while fighting off jet lag from a frequent-flyer’s dream trip over the past few weeks.

He played in the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach, then in the British Open at Sandwich, then the Senior British Open at Walton Heath. He flew back across the Atlantic on Sunday night to his home in Houston, where he spent two days before coming to the Rust Belt for a quick practice round late on Wednesday.

While at home, he swapped out several clubs he had used in Britain.

“I got my old set (of irons) and put those back in the bag and kind of went back with my old driver. I fiddle a little bit but not too much,” he said. “So it was on familiar ground. Like yesterday in the practice round, I hit the ball nicely. I was like, `OK, there’s no reason why I can’t continue on that path.”’

Allen’s only Seniors victory came in another major championship in Ohio, the 2009 Senior PGA at Canterbury in Cleveland.

He said the fast start will make it easier for him to be patient.

“Usually when I’m out here I seem to be chasing from so far behind,” he said. “So it’s nice to be able to come out and play and not have to keep making birdies and catching up all the time.”

Amateur Damon Green, better known as former Masters champ Zach Johnson’s regular tour caddie, was at 67 with former U.S. Open champion Steve Jones and Mark Wiebe.

Leading the pack at 68 were former British Open winner Mark Calcavecchia, ex-U.S. Open winner Corey Pavinand 1988 PGA Championship victor Jeff Sluman.

Seemingly ageless Hale Irwin was up to his usual tricks. The winner of three U.S. Opens, including the one held 32 years ago at Inverness, was once again in contention in a major at age 66. He shot a 69.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer, still rounding into shape after rehabbing a thumb injury for 4 months, shot a 70. He was joined there by Russ Cochran, coming off a major championship victory a week ago at the Senior British Open.

There were 35 players who broke par and another 11 who equaled it.

Browne refused to feel any pressure because he was low man.

“You guys are acting like I’m the next thing,” he said to reporters. “It’s just the way the game works, you know? I’m not losing perspective over this. There’s a long way to go.”

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."