Browne plays with 13 clubs, Funk overcomes rough start

July 30, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

SAMMAMISH, Wash. (AP) -- After qualifying for his first U.S. Golf Association event in 35 years, J.R. Roth decided to stick around for a while.

The little-known Roth shot a 4-under 66 in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open on Friday, vaulting himself into contention.

Roth hit 15 greens in regulation and took advantage with his strong putting.

He had six birdies despite the firm conditions, including a pair of 35-foot putts that fell on the ninth and 18th holes. His putt on No. 18 broke hard from right to left and just sneaked in the side of the hole to cap his round and get him back into red figures headed to the weekend.

"It was great," Roth said. "I played well all day. The round just kind of developed. I knew I had something special going when I made birdie on number 9."

"Then I birdied 11 and was thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, I've got something really good going.'"

He followed it up with a 10-footer to save par on No. 12.

This is the second USGA tournament Roth has played in. The other was the 1975 U.S. Junior Amateur.

"I think the way USGA sets up the golf course it really is good for me, because I'm just one of those guys that grinds it out," Roth said. "I can make as good a par as anybody, and that's usually a pretty good score."

Roth has won several tournaments in Michigan, where he worked as a club professional at Flint Country Club. After playing on the Champions Tour for a couple years, he was unable to find another job in Michigan and decided to move to Farmington, N.M., and take the job at San Juan Country Club.

Despite never winning and only notching a couple top-25 finishes during his short time on the Champions Tour, the experience of playing against some of the top players on the tour and his experience winning tournaments in Michigan have helped him climb the leaderboard.

"If you've never won golf tournaments before, then you don't know what the pressure is like," Roth said. "And there's always pressure with winning golf tournaments. I've won plenty of golf tournaments. I'm just going to play. I'm just going to play, that's all."


ONE SHORT: Before second-round play began, Olin Browne found himself a little short-handed.

Browne's pitching wedge broke while on the driving range before his morning tee time and he was forced to play with just 13 clubs in his bag.

It didn't phase Browne and he shot an even par 70 to remain at 3-over par.

Browne was on the range when the epoxy holding the shaft and clubhead together came loose and broke apart. The staff at Sahalee tried to repair the club before the round began but were unsuccessful.

Browne said that he took a little off his tee shots to leave himself longer shots into the greens that he could use a 9-iron instead. He said there is about a 15-yard gap in his clubs without the pitching wedge in his arsenal.

"I played around it actually on a couple holes and when I needed it I played my sand wedge back in my stance and just slugged it and I made birdie twice with it, so it worked out," Browne said.

"This course is so hard, you're probably not shooting at more than four or five pins today anyway."

Browne was going to attempt to get the club repaired for the third round, but said that if he couldn't get it fixed he would play without it again on Saturday.


IN A FUNK: No one appears destined to match Fred Funk's winning total of 20 under at Crooked Stick last year.

Least of which is Funk.

The defending champ rebounded from a poor first round to shoot an even-par 70 on Friday. He'll be around for the weekend, but is well out of contention.

"Well I wanted to be around for the weekend. My teacher and I worked on some stuff last night and it really hit the last five or six holes," Funk said.

Funk said his focus after Thursday's opening round 76 was finding some consistency in the mechanics of his swing. He was still searching early, making a pair of bogeys on his first nine, before rallying with a pair of birdies coming in.


INFIRMARY: Peter Jacobsen withdrew midway through Friday's second round with a left leg injury. Jacobsen was 7 over through nine holes and 11 over for the tournament when he pulled out. D.A. Weibring withdrew with an unknown injury before starting his second round and Wayne Levi pulled out with an elbow injury.