Olin Browne kicks up some turf while hitting on the #8 fairway during the second round of the U.S. Senior Open.
Confronted with an even wetter course and tougher pin placements Friday, first-round leader Olin Browne managed to cling to a one-shot lead in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club.
A second consecutive day of early morning rain delayed the start of the second round by two hours, 45 minutes — bringing the total amount of precipitation Inverness has received in the last week to nearly four inches — and by the end of the day, 21 players still hadn’t completed their round when play was halted by darkness at 8:56 p.m.
Play will resume at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, with the projected cut at 2-over.
Among the first few groups of players to tee off once play was allowed to commence at 10:15 a.m. Friday, Browne carded a 2-under 69 after posting five birdies, a bogey and a double bogey in his round.
“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday, but I managed to shake it in under par and that’s a good thing,” said Browne, who tied a Senior Open record with his 7-under 64 in the first round. Mark O’Meara shot 68 to remain in second place at 8-under, and Mark Calcavecchia shot 67 to move into a tie for third place with Michael Allen (69) and Ohio State graduate Joey Sindelar (66) at 7-under.
Australian Peter Senior turned in a 67 and was another shot back alone in sixth.
Corey Pavin, Trevor Dodds, and Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota each shot 69 to finish at 5-under.
Browne momentarily lost his lead when he bogeyed the par-4 14th to drop to 7-under, and Murota made birdie at the par-4 7th to get to 8-under.
But Murota went bogey-double bogey on his final two holes, and Browne finished with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18.
“The course is playing totally differently,” Browne said. “It’s playing a lot longer. Greens are really soft. Pins are in entirely different locations. They’re much tighter to the corner of the greens and the edges, so an errant shot [Thursday] would leave you a 15-18 foot [putt], and [Friday] it might leave you a 35-foot chip shot.”
Mark O’Meara hits a chip shot onto the green at No. 9. He finished the day in second place with a 68. He carded three straight birdies in the middle of his round to get to 8-under through 11 holes after starting on the back nine. Mark Calcavecchia, Michael Allen, and Joey Sindelar are tied for third.
“I’m pleased with today,” O’Meara said. “I hit a couple of poor ones out there, but overall I felt like I stayed in the game pretty well.”
Calcavecchia finished second last weekend at the Senior British Open after leading going into the weekend. His title bid was derailed on the 13th hole of the third round when he made triple bogey, and followed that with a double bogey in the final round to dash any hope of a comeback.
Although it was a disappointing weekend for him since he was bidding to become only the fourth player to win both the British Open and Senior British Open, Calcavecchia likes the state of his game and took the experience as a lesson to be learned.
“Well, it kind of goes along with confidence,” Calcavecchia said. “I knew I played pretty good last week for the most part.
“Just, you know, you can’t make big, big numbers on the weekend. … I mean, it’s not like it’s rocket science or noon news. Doubles or triples are never good no matter what day you make them, but especially on the weekend of a big tournament or a major.”
Calcavecchia has made just one bogey this week — on the par-3 15th Thursday — and has 51 combined putts in his two rounds, the second lowest total of any player in the field.
“Certainly today I putted great, so that’s good,” he said. “I really didn’t come close to making a bogey. I felt good, so hopefully [since] we’re only halfway, we can go out [today] and shoot something in the 60s again and try to keep moving forward.”
Allen didn’t have as much luck with the flat stick on his final hole last night. With the sun creeping closer to the horizon, Allen’s par putt from seven feet on No. 18 rimmed around the entire circumference of the cup and stayed out.
Michael Allen, right, with his caddie, Mike Kerr, approach the 18th green at Inverness Club. Allen is tied with Marl Calcavecchia and Joey Sindelar for third place in the U.S. Senior Open.
So too is Sindelar. The New Yorker helped Ohio State win a national championship in golf in 1979 and has been riding a popular wave of momentum from the gallery all week.
Said Sindelar: “All in all, it looks like home to me here.”
Contact Zach Silka at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6084.