Lake Orion, Mich. – The opportunity to post a low red
number on the U.S. Senior Open leaderboard presented itself to Friday morning’s
however, took advantage.
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.
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
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.
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
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.”
Lehman’s playing partner who shot 71 and is at 2-under 138, viewed Lehman’s
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
“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
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.