Notes: U.S. Senior Open Championship, Thursday
July 11, 2014
- Colin Montgomerie made eight birdies in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
He already has one Champions Tour major on his resume, but Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie is off to a fast start in his bid for a second in 2014. The winner of the Senior PGA Championship in May, Montgomerie fashioned an impressive 6-under-par 65 on Thursday at Oak Tree National. He hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation (88.9%) and 11 of 14 fairways in his opening round.
Montgomerie’s 6-under-par 65 was his 12th consecutive sub-par round and 11 of those rounds have been in the 60s.
The last time Colin Montgomerie held sole possession of the first-round lead in a PGA TOUR/Champions Tour event was at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot where he fired a one-under-par 69. He was the lone player in the field to post an opening round in the 60s.
Bernhard Langer, who sits atop the Charles Schwab Cup point’s and current money list, opened with a 2-under-par 69. It marked the 34th time in 37 rounds this year he has posted a sub-par round. It was also his 24th round in the 60s.
Jay Haas was forced to withdraw prior to his start on Thursday with a back issue. Haas claimed the 2006 Senior PGA Championship when Oak Tree National hosted the event. Haas had come into this event with 11 top-10 finishes in 12 starts in 2014 and had posted top-10 finishes in the three previous major championships this year.
Marco Dawson continues to play well in major championships this year. His 5-under-par 66 currently has him in second place. He was T9 at the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship and T15 at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
Defending champion Kenny Perry shot an opening-round 4-over-par 75 and is T75.
With two top-10 finishes in major championship already in 2014, Mark Brooks is off to a good start as he seeks a possible third. Brooks shot a 3-under-par 68 and is currently third. He finished T5 at the Senior PGA Championship and T6 at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
Bob Gilder continued his streak of competing in major championships on the Champions Tour. Gilder made his 67th consecutive major championship start which is a record. Gilder has played in every one since turning 50 starting with the 2001 Countrywide Tradition (now Regions Tradition) in Arizona where he finished T29. Gilder shot an opening-round 3-over-par 74.
Among the players making their Champions Tour debuts were Kevin Sutherland (73/T37), Scott Verplank (75/T70), Woody Austin (72/T28) and Mike Standly (80/T126).
Today’s starting field included players from 16 different countries. In addition to the 131 players from the United States, there were players from England (5), Australia (3), Japan (3), South Africa (3), Argentina (1), Canada (1), Denmark (1), Fiji (1), Germany (1), Republic of Korea (1), Mexico (1), Philippines (1), Scotland (1), Spain (1) and Sweden (1).
A pair of former U.S. Senior Open winners got off to good starts on Thursday. Olin Browne (2011) and Peter Jacobsen (2004) each opened with 1-under-par 70s.
Today was Jeff Sluman’s 92nd consecutive event on the Champions Tour. That is the best current streak on Tour. He shot a 1-under-par 70 and is T9.
Kiyoshi Murota (back injury) and Darrell Kestner (heat-related) withdrew on Thursday. Murota had completed his round, while Kestner withdrew after 14 holes.
The scoring average for the field in today’s round was 75.638. That was the highest first-round scoring average since 2010 when the field averaged 76.697 at Sahalee C.C. in Washington. A year ago the average score was 73.955.
The 469-yard, par-4 third hole played to a stroke average of 4.48 and was the most-difficult hole in the opening round. Only 33% of the field (52 of 156 players) hit the green in regulation.
The top amateur in the first round was Jeff Wilson after a 1-under-par 70 (T9). An automobile salesman from Fairfield, CA, Wilson is playing in his second U.S. Senior Open. He missed the cut last year in Omaha. Wilson also played in four U.S. Opens (low amateur in 2000) and eight U.S. Mid-Amateurs where he was the stroke-play medalist three times.