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Browne's eagles earn Senior Open lead

Stadler, Lietzke withdrawal from tourney with injuries

Olin-Brown

Olin Browne tees off on #9 during the first round of the U.S. Senior Open Thursday. Browne finished at 7 under as the leader.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Olin Browne recorded two eagles over his final nine holes to take the lead after the first round of the U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club on Thursday.

Browne carded a 7-under, 64 and is two shots ahead of Mark O’Meara and Michael Allen.

Browne, who started on the back nine in the afternoon, was 1-under through nine holes. He went to 2-under with a birdie on No. 3. Browne then recorded an eagle at hole No. 4 and then birdied No. 6 to move to 5-under. He then tallied another eagle at No. 8 to move to 7-under.

“I obviously played a really nice solid round of golf,” Browne said. “I drove my ball really well. I hit one bad tee shot today and that cost me on the back nine on 16. But overall I drove my ball nicely.”

O’Meara and Allen both carded 5-under, 66s on Thursday morning.

O’Meara and Allen started out on opposite nines with Allen starting on the back nine. Both shared the clubhouse lead for most of the first round.

Damon Green, Steve Jones, and Mark Wiebe are a shot back in a tie for fourth after shooting 67s.

Eight golfers are tied seventh, including Mark Calcavecchia, who finished second at the Senior British Open Championship last weekend.

O’Meara and Allen both had aggregate scores of 34-32. Neither made a bogey and both finished with five birdies.

“Any time you shoot 5 under on a major championship, especially around this golf course, you've got to be pleased, and I am,” O’Meara said.

Craig Stadler withdrew earlier in the day because of an injury to his lower back. Bruce Lietzke had to bow out because of a shoulder injury. Jon Chaffee of Scottsdale, Ariz., took Stadler's spot in the field. Chaffee shot a 69 at sectional qualifying at Arrowhead Country Club in Glendale, Ariz., to earn first alternate position.

Lietzke, the 2003 U.S. Senior Open champion at Inverness, played 13 holes of his first round and was 8-over.

A field of 155 golfers are participating in the U.S. Senior Open.

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