Players Fail To Challenge Kite's Lead


Tom Lehman, watching as a putt slides by on the 15th hole, shot 4-under 66. (Fred Vuich/USGA)
By Stuart Hall
July 13, 2012

Lake Orion, Mich. – The opportunity to post a low red number on the U.S. Senior Open leaderboard presented itself to Friday morning’s second-round groupings.

Few players, however, took advantage.

The beneficiary may be first-round leader Tom Kite, who teed off in the afternoon at Indianwood Golf & Country Club right where he left on Thursday – in the lead at five under par and with a chance to put some separation between himself and the field. 

As the afternoon groupings began teeing off in increasing heat and heavier winds, six players – Tom Lehman (4-under 66), John Huston (67), Roger Chapman (68), Dick Mast (68), Corey Pavin (69) and Bernhard Langer (70) – were in the clubhouse at 4-under-par 136.

While Jay Don Blake had the morning’s best round, a 5-under 65 that included a U.S. Senior Open record-tying five straight birdies during an outward-nine 29 to reach 2-under 138, Lehman led the charge of the closest contenders.

Lehman, who was frustrated by closing out a first-round 70 with consecutive bogeys, turned in a five-birdie round that was flawed only by a bogey on the 470-yard, par-4 18th hole.

“I didn't feel good about my game yesterday,” said Lehman, who has tied for eighth, 12th and 23rd in the past three Senior Opens. “Didn't start out all that well today either, but kind of got into a groove and started hitting the ball much more solidly. Made a few putts. Kind of struggled a bit coming in the last couple, hit some lousy shots. But all in all, it was a good day.”

Jeff Sluman, Lehman’s playing partner who shot 71 and is at 2-under 138, viewed Lehman’s round differently.

“He could have shot 62 or 63 easy,” Sluman said. “He played that solid. If he plays like that the next two days, you can start the engraving [the Francis Ouimet Trophy].

“It was fun to watch him because he really just put the ball in the proper spot, drove it beautifully, just had his ball under control all day. And that's what it takes out here.”

Indianwood, hosting its first USGA championship since the 1994 U.S. Women’s Open, is being lauded as a fair, but biting test that is being continually compared to a links-style course with, said Chapman, “humps and hillocks and wispy grass” and trees.

At points in their respective rounds, Fred Funk reached seven under par, Pavin six  under and Lehman and Mast five  under. But none could make the score stick. In the case of Funk, he played his final seven holes in five  over.  

Pavin attributes the bunched leaderboard to the course.

“It's a hard golf course,” he said. “I think typically or historically, what you see at USGA events and most major championships is you see fairly good scores the first round or second round, and then it starts getting more and more difficult. I'm not really sure exactly why, but maybe the course just plays harder and harder. It gets set up and gets a little firmer. Typically, that's what happens.

“The guy shoots four or five under the first round, and it's hard to follow it up again on a golf course like this.  If you shoot even or something like that, it's still a very good score. So it's hard to continue on that pace.”

Barring Kite scorching Indianwood in the afternoon, Chapman, who won the Senior PGA Championship last month, said he would take a pair of 67s and take his chances on Sunday.

“With the severity of the course and the driving, I don't think anybody is really going to get away from us,” he said.

Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on USGA websites.  


 

 

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
 
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

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
   

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
   

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
   

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