He was up at 4:30 a.m. and off at 6:30 a.m.
First off the tee in fact. No problem. Mark Calcavecchia's pretty used to it.
The 50-year-old former British Open champ has been in the first group off -- on his early days -- in the last five British Opens.
"The R & A is nice enough to know that I like to play fast and they certainly know I'm not going to hold anybody up,'' Calc said ''But that was the first time I actually hit it first. So yeah, that's pretty cool."
Even cooler? He threw out a 5-under-par 67 to climb the leader board and head to an early lunch just five shots off the mid-day lead held by Louis Oosthuizen. The round -- it included a missed 8-footer for birdie at the 17th -- left him at 137 going into the weekend .
The Senior British Open will be played next week at Carnoustie, and judging from early results at St. Andrews, Mark O’Meara would have to be among the favorites.
O’Meara made five birdies and two bogeys on the way to a 69 that left him the low Champions Tour player at the British Open. Mark Calcavecchia fired a 70 while Tom Lehman had a 71, Nick Faldo and Tom Pernice Jr. shot 72s and Loren Roberts, Peter Senior and Tom Watson each had a 73.
Mark Calcavecchia and Erik Compton are currently sitting near the bottom of the leaderboard, each at 4 over for the tournament, with both players still on their front nines.
But just seeing them make the cut and reach the weekend at the Memorial is a nice accomplishment in itself.
Calcavecchia, who turns 50 next Saturday, is making his last PGA TOUR start before embarking on a full-time Champions Tour career. The Memorial is his 737th TOUR event.
Calcavecchia is looking forward to the Champions Tour. He'll make his first start at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on June 25 in Endicott, N.Y.
"New courses, new towns, you know, new holes to screw up," Calcavecchia said earlier this week. "Tired of screwing up the same holes every year. ...
"The relaxed atmosphere of it, everybody tells me it's a lot of
fun. The golf is still super competitive, which, obviously I know,
and we all know the kind of scores they shoot out there and how
good everybody is. So I know the golf still you've got to play
great to win or even to contend, you still have to play great. So
that doesn't change."
As for Compton, his (literally) heartwarming story -- he's had two heart transplants, the second one in 2008 -- makes him a popular figure to follow.
He played a round with Jack Nicklaus and son Jackie Nicklaus on Sunday.
"Talked a little bit about golf and tennis and some of the stuff he's interested in doing now," Compton recalled a few days later. "You know, he just -- he's always shocked about how much I've been through, having two transplants. You know, we had a good match. I got to hit some of his iron shots and talked about putting and chipping and just a regular -- he's just a regular guy."
Although he's yet to contend this year, Compton has made the cut in each of his four starts, and tied for 30th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. This is the second consecutive year he's made the cut at the Memorial.
Compton will go through sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open on Monday. It will be the first time he's played 36 holes since his last surgery.
"My medical accomplishments are much higher than my accomplishments in the game of golf," Compton said. "You know, I haven't had the accomplishments that a lot of the guys here have had on TOUR but yet I'm probably just as recognized as guys that have had won majors and things like that because of my accomplishments in the medical room."
Due to the two-hour weather delay Thursday morning, tee times for the afternoon groups have been pushed back two hours. Here are a few groups to keep an eye on in the afternoon (along with their adjusted tee times):
2:44 p.m. ET (1st tee) -- Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Jason Bohn. Woods, the four-time Memorial champion, is making his first start since having to withdraw from THE PLAYERS Championship last month with a neck injury. Stricker came back from an injury last week in Fort Worth, finishing T38.
2:44 p.m. ET (10th tee) -- Camilo Villegas, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar. Villegas has not played well in his last two starts, but he does have a win earlier this year at The Honda Classic. Johnson also has a win, having successfully defended his title at Pebble Beach. And Kuchar has played well at Muirfield Village in his last three starts, including a tie for fifth last year.
2:55 p.m. ET (1st tee) -- Tim Clark, Robert Allenby, Adam Scott. Clark and Allenby battled for THE PLAYERS title, with Clark finally breaking through for his first TOUR win. Scott won the Valero Texas Open in his last start.
2:55 p.m. ET (10th tee) -- Geoff Ogilvy, Lucas Glover, J.B. Holmes -- Ogilvy is a past U.S. Open champion. Glover is the defending champ. With the U.S. Open in two weeks, they'll be priming their games.
3:06 p.m. (10th tee) -- Kenny Perry, Mark Wilson, Mark Calcavecchia. Perry has won this event three times; Calcavecchia is making his last TOUR start before embarking on his Champions Tour career.
A new caddy and a new driver have helped fuel a hot streak that has seen Jeff Overton post two runner-up finishes in his last four starts.
Eric Larson, who has caddied for Mark Calcavecchia and Anthony Kim, is now toting Overton's bag. He's also playing with the TaylorMade SuperFast driver, which Overton says has added about 15 yards off the tee.
"I gained four and a half miles per hour my ball speed," he said. "It enables me to get my ball down there within 100 yards and really take advantage of some of these par 4s. I was able to do that today.
"I hit a bunch of good iron shots and just been riding that wave. It's been great."
Thursday's result was a 63 that left Overton in a tie for the lead with Jason Bohn. He birdied seven of his last 11 holes and shot 29 on the back nine -- the best score on that segment since Greg Kraft came up with the same number in 1999.
Overton broke 70 in all four rounds last year, which was his first appearance at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, as he tied for 13th. His low score prior to Thursday was the third-round 65 last season.
"I love the golf course," Overton said. "It's a great place. ... The place sets up very well for my game. Especially somebody hits a high draw, a lot of the holes set up very nicely for that. ...The greens are just perfect. I love greens that really roll well, and you hit good shots and you are going to get rewarded because the greens are nice."
As well as he finished, though, Overton started slowly on Thursday -- even though the hot, humid conditions were ripe for scoring.
Overton hit his opening drive 315 yards into the middle of the fairway, but put his second in a greenside bunker and couldn't get up and down to take advantage of the par 5. A wedge in his hands at No. 2 produced a 12-foot birdie putt but again, he couldn't convert.
Overton hung tough, though, and that 7-footer for par at the seventh hole was clutch. He followed with a 7-iron to 5 feet at No. 8 and the floodgates finally opened.
"I'm just, c'mon, man, the course, if there's ever a time it's there to be had today," Overton recalled. "After missing a few 10, 12 footers for birdie, the next thing I knew I made a good one off the back fringe on 10 and stuck a 5 iron in there on 11, after hitting it in the trees.
"It was, you know, it was one of those things that everything kind of clicked and it went together like a puzzle almost."
To replay Overton's round on Shot Tracker, click here .
JEFF OVERTON'S ROUND 1 STATISTICS
|Driving distance||Fairways hit||Greens in regulation||Putts needed||Sand saves|
|283.4 yards||7 of 14||14 of 18||25||0 of 1|