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Published: Thursday, 7/28/2011

U.S. SENIOR OPEN

Muggy weather follows golfers on course

Players don't let humidty change their game

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Golfer Mark O'Meara wipes the sweat from his face on the ninth hole at Inverness Club Thursday. Golfer Mark O'Meara wipes the sweat from his face on the ninth hole at Inverness Club Thursday.
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The oppressive heat and humidity were not a huge impediment for some of the veteran golfers at the U.S. Senior Open Thursday at Inverness Club.

Mark O’Meara, who took the early clubhouse lead after shooting 5-under, teed off at 8:20 Thursday morning. O’Meara, who is tied for second, said there wasn’t much wind during his round. But a steady breeze picked up later in the day.

“It was warm and humid, and the air was heavy,” O’Meara said. “I think it was good for me as I got off to the quick start. In Ohio, it’s not supposed to be this hot.”

A warm front passed through overnight and brought some scattered showers before play began Thursday.

Michael Allen, who was the co-leader with his 66 after the morning round, said the course was softer because of the rain.

“I was a little surprised to wake up to see all the rain because it wasn’t raining when I got home last night at all. So the course was certainly softer,” Allen said. “We got started, and there was really very little wind or anything at all, so you could get out there and hit some good shots.”

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Damon Green, who was tied for fourth with a 67, said the greens weren’t as fast as he thought they would be.

“It was hot, muggy, and the greens were receptive,” Green said. “If you keep the ball on the fairway, it’s like shooting darts on some of them.”

Steve Jones said the key to his round of 4-under that tied him for fourth was staying hydrated.

“I just drank a lot of water and Gatorade,” Jones said. “It was brutal, humid. But your bones feel pretty good in the heat, so you’ve just got to handle it and move on.”

At 2:45 p.m., the temperature was 93 degrees, but with the humidity factored in, it felt like 102. A fierce sun also beat down on the historic grounds.

Bernhard Langer, who is the defending U.S. Senior Open champion, had a different take on the conditions. Langer, who teed off at 8:20, finished tied for 22nd after shooting 1-under.

“It was pretty steamy. It’s really tough,” Langer said. “The first couple of hours were okay. It was a little cooler and you’re fresh, but then as the round goes on it’s a long time out there in the heat. I was huffing and puffing in the end.”

But at least two spectators at the event weren’t troubled by the heat.

John Kirk, 67, of Sylvania said he often plays golf in the same type of weather.

“This doesn’t bother me at all. It’s a great day,” Kirk said. “All I’m doing is standing. Walking and hitting is a big difference.”

Kirk, who said he applied plenty of sun lotion, said he didn’t notice many of the golfers laboring in the heat.

Erine Sutton, 65, traveled to Toledo from Pickerington, Ohio, to see the tournament.

“I was sitting along [hole No. 6] and as the afternoon went on, the breeze got better,” Sutton said.

Olin Browne, who leads the tournament after the first round, said the heat added to the difficulties that are already part of a major tournament.

“[We’re] a bunch of old guys plodding around trying to survive the tough conditions and the heat and so forth,” Brown said.

Mark Calcavecchia, who is in seventh place, said the weather made him “a little tired and sloppy over the last four holes.”

“The heat just zaps you,” Calcavecchia said.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com or 419-724-6354.



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