<" />
Red Alert! Three Players Share Early Lead

By Phillip Howley
July 27, 2009
Joey Sindelar, who admitted he watched the leaderboard on the course Thursday, put together a bogey-free round. (Fred Vuich/USGA)

Carmel, Ind. - There are horses for courses and then there are courses that bring out the horses. The latter expression seemed most appropriate for the first day of the Senior Open at long and lean Crooked Stick Golf Club.

As the initial wave of players began to check in, a three-way tie formed at the top with Dan Forsman , Greg Norman and Joey Sindelar, all at 6-under-par 66. Also on the marquee was recent Senior British Open winner Loren Roberts (68), former British Open champion Tom Lehman (68), 2007 Senior Open winner Brad Bryant (68), two-time Senior Open winner Allen Doyle (70) and two-time Senior PGA champion Jay Haas ... to drop a name or two.

"Great names," said Sindelar. "Those are pretty much the names that tattoo me every week, except for Norman, and he only does that when he comes out.

"Of course, the cream will come to the top when these golf courses are this good and this tough, especially over four rounds. This is a longer journey than we play most of the year, so I would expect the galleries will be happy with the names they would see at the end of the week."

There were many others traveling south of the par-72 border on the 7,244-yard layout. Bruce Vaughn had a 68, Jeff Sluman a 69, and the list represented a variety of styles, both bombers and bunters. But mostly, for robust Indiana galleries and perfect scoring conditions that characterized the morning, there was star power.

"Well, it's a Pete Dye golf course, and he tests your shot-thinking ability," said Norman, whose only glitch was a bogey at No. 18. "There are things you can do out there to put yourself in a bad position, and Pete will always have something there to catch you, if he can do that.

"Every time I've gone to a Pete Dye golf course, I like the way he tactically builds the golf course. When you get up to a tee, you can't just pull out a driver, even though John Daly did that in '91. You've got to think about the shot, before you hit it, and a lot of the greens, especially the back nine, they've got a lot of undulations, so if you short-side yourself, it's difficult to get up and out like I did on 18 today."

Norman was ambushed at 18 by a teeing ground that had moved up 42 yards from the practice days. "There is a note on our lockers saying they would do that on some of the holes, and 18 caught me by surprise," Norman said. "When I got to the tee, I didn't have a line.

That said, Norman was rarely off line with his putter, as he spun through 18 holes in just 25 putts. Sindelar had the same number of rolls, as did Forsman. Norman admitted that he worked on rhythm and stroke with the putter the last couple of days after coming away less than enthusiastic at the Senior British Open.

With little or no wind, and dry but overcast conditions to boot, Crooked Stick was not conducive to crooked numbers. By mid-afternoon, there were already 17 scores turned in that were under par. Bryant believed the red cards and congested leaderboard are just the start of a slam-bang week.

"You know, when the great players play great on great golf courses, they shoot good scores," said Bryant, who hit 16 of 18 greens and 12 of 14 fairways.

"I think the guys ought to be really commended on the way they addressed the golf course this week; it's tremendous. It's going to bring back some excitement into an Open, which I really like."

Phillip Howley is a freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on www.ussenioropen.com.

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image