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November 4 2011

12:15 AM

Allen home again, and contending again

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
One year after his second-place finish at TPC Harding Park, Michael Allen is off to another good start in the season finale.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO – When Michael Allen plays TPC Harding Park, the memories of youth come flowing back.

Coincidentally or not, so does great golf.

The San Mateo, Calif., native shot 2 under in Round 1 of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, one shot back of Fred Couples and Jay Haas.

He had a small but vocal fan contingent following him on the cold and windy day, all while remembering good times around the famed muni.

“Like the city tournament we used to come out here … I remember the time I was actually a medalist,” said Allen, who grew up a few miles down the road from Harding Park. “I think we had 13 or 14 temporary greens. Just a mud bowl and it rained the whole way.”

Of course, Harding Park is considerably nicer today, and on the new incarnation Allen has good memories too. Last year he shot 61 in the third round of the season finale, the course record by three shots. He didn’t win the tournament, shooting 70 on Sunday to John Cook’s 67, but doesn’t appear convincing when he claims to be upset about that outcome.

“You know, the thing is, when I come to this area and play, I just enjoy the golf here. I grew up with it. I love seeing the trees and the color of the grass,” Allen said.

That doesn’t mean he still doesn’t want to take a trophy home Sunday afternoon. The 52-year-old won his first Champions Tour start in 2009, the Senior PGA Championship, but hasn’t won since. This year he finished in the top-10 in half of his 18 starts, but didn’t finish higher than third.

“It’s been a frustrating year in a way, that I haven’t won. I’ve had some good opportunities,” Allen said. “I’d like to get a win before the end of the year, for sure.”

At TPC Harding Park, it would just be another entry into Allen’s memory bank.

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