Tom Kite blasts from a trap at the Caves Valley Golf Club. Kite shot 67 yesterday and is one shot behind leader Walter Hall.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. - Walter Hall said he did “a Tom Kite imitation” yesterday.
Appropriately enough, it left him one stroke ahead of Kite at the midway point of the U.S. Senior Open at Caves Valley Golf Club.
Hall, a one-time appliance salesman who didn't turn professional until the mid-1990s, roughed up Caves Valley for a 6-under 65 yesterday, five shots better than his previous low round in a Senior Open.
“And I probably won't ever do this again,” he said. “But I sure had my day in the sun today. That was my Tom Kite imitation today.”
Kite also did a good job of imitating Kite, carding a 67. Like Hall, he started his round on the back nine, survived the toughest part of the course, then caught fire.
“The first three holes are where you really need to make hay,” Kite said. “You're going to hit a short iron into No. 1, probably a wedge in at the next hole, then you've got a par 5 that's reachable. So you've got a chance to do some nice stuff there. After that, the game is on.”
Because of an overnight suspension in play on Thursday, Hall and Kite both completed their first rounds early yesterday morning before getting around to scheduled play.
Hall liked the fact that he finished up on the back nine, then immediately played that same nine again to start the second round's split-tee format.
“I was glad to get the back nine out of the way,” Hall said. “I knew that when I got to 4-under making the turn that I still had some good birdie holes ahead of me.”
Kite and Hall each turned with pars at No. 1, but followed with identical back-to-back birdies to ignite their rounds.
Hall leads at 7-under 135. Kite and Spain's Jose Maria Canizares (68) are tied at 136.
First-round leader R.W. Eaks followed his opening 64, which tied a Senior Open scoring record, with a 2-over 73 and remains very much in contention at 5-under 137.
“I like the way I'm playing and where I am, but I can never think I'm the guy here,” Hall said. “I'm contending against some of the greatest players and greatest ball-strikers that have ever played the game of golf.”
One of them, Tom Watson, is lying in the bushes at 4-under 138 - he is tied there with Japan's Isao Aoki and Fred Gibson - after an even-par 71 in the second round.
“I'm right there at 4-under,” Watson said, “and I'm striking the ball well. But I'll have to putt a little better the next two days.”
The cut came at 7-over 149 with 63 players surviving to play on the weekend.
Not among them was Maumee's Pat Lindsey, who struggled to an 82 yesterday for a 15-over 157 total.
Also not among them was Shim La Goy, a native of Canton, Ohio. The 53-year-old club pro from California finished 36 holes at 33 over par, yet was greeted with a warm handshake from Fuzzy Zoeller simply for finishing rounds of 87-88.
La Goy, who was playing in his first Senior Open, had polio as a child, has an artificial knee and was suffering from debilitating blisters after walking 36 holes on the hilly, demanding Caves Valley layout.