U.S. SENIOR OPEN
5 Things to Know for Round 2
August 12, 2016 | COLUMBUS, OHIO
By Dave Shedloski
The second round of the U.S. Senior Open is underway at steamy Scioto Country Club. Here’s what to watch for as players seek to either build on, or bounce back from, their first rounds:
Vijay Singh. His length advantage and his tournament toughness from playing on the PGA Tour make him an obvious favorite this week. That 4-under 66 he shot in the first round, which gave him a two-stroke lead, won't be easy to duplicate, but watch out if he plays as smartly as he did Thursday when he hit 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation. He definitely has the ability – and the expectations – to stretch his lead. Then again, with afternoon breezes in the forecast and a course that is already firm and fast, a runaway might not happen.
Miguel Angel Jimenez. The only player to hit more fairways than Singh was the easy-going Spaniard, whose PGA Tour Champions record in 2016 is ridiculously stellar. He followed up his lone victory in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic with this set of finishes: T-4, T-2, T-2, T-3, and 2nd with his playoff loss last week to Joe Durant in the 3M Championship. "I'm playing the shots I should play," he said succinctly. Numbers concur. He hit 12 fairways and 17 greens in his opening 68.
The cut. The low 60 scores and ties advance to the weekend, and after 18 holes there are exactly 60 players at 3-over 73. The rule oftentimes on difficult golf courses is that the cut is double that first-round number, so 6 over par might be a target score. Those with work ahead of them include Tom Lehman and Mark O'Meara at +4, Woody Austin, John Cook and Joe Durant (+5), and Scott McCarron, Hale Irwin and Lee Janzen, who are 6 over par.
Putting. The greens at Scioto Country Club are slick and possess more subtle undulations after Jack Nicklaus and Dr. Michael Hurdzan renovated them in 2007. What spectators witnessed mostly on Thursday were a lot of frustrated golfers who couldn't seem to decipher the deceptive slopes. Another day to get familiar with them might help. That said, Michael Allen needed just 21 putts in his round of 68, and it's doubtful he'll maintain that pace. Unless he does, and then everyone else is in trouble.
Bruce Fleisher. Winner of the 1968 U.S. Amateur at Scioto, Fleisher kept his emotions in check to fire a 2-over 72, which included an eagle at the par-5 12th when he jarred a wedge from 110 yards. It was a pretty impressive performance in his first U.S. Senior Open since 2011. Fleisher, 67, who won the 2001 U.S. Senior Open, has all but said this is his last tournament. "I don't really like talking about myself ... but if it started for me here, to be part of history with Jack Nicklaus who grew up here, if it ends here, I'm very happy. Whether I shot 80 today or 90, I was really fine with it. I think shooting 72 is such a bonus, and it's so special." It would be more so should he make the cut. The soft-spoken Floridian has come close to tears several times talking about what this week means to him. Imagine the emotional rush if he plays through to Sunday. That's something worth watching.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.