After 6 attempts to hit a decent tee shot in the British Senior Open (2 at Sunningdale, and 4 at Carnoustie) today I stripped a 3 metal on off the first tee that was the catalyst to my birdie birdie start today at Walton Heath. The usual heart pounding butterflies were there for the 1st shot off #1 which has disaster waiting for a shot missed off to the right.
I must admit I spent a lot of time star gazing at all the legends of golf I remember rooting for over the past 30 years. I was blown away that Nick Price remembered me from a round that we played together back some 30 years ago in San Diego at Torrey Pines. Nick Price is one of the nicest and humble guys you’ll ever meet. One of the huge perks of playing in this event is the Players Lounge (which is the free food) for the players and their guests. I was very fortunate to receive enough passes into the Players Lounge for all of my family that has traveled a long way to come watch me play in this exciting event. The food, people, course, and experience are all going to be great memories I will never forget.
The weather today was quite tame, no rain, and only a slight breeze was blowing. The wind switched which made the first 6 holes downwind, and the tougher back nine holes 12-16 even tougher than during the practice rounds. Of course I had my first experience hitting a golf ball out of HEATHER…which is like hitting a shot out of ice plant. My round had several spectacular par saving putts, combined with some disappointing missed short birdie putts. Hard to complain about a 72 on the almost 7400 yard course that is wet, and playing long.
The 3 amateurs that are playing for the Silver Metal and an exemption into next years event shot 72 (me) Paul Simson 73, and Steven East 79. The low amateur must post a 72 hole score, which means that I need to play well tomorrow as the scores all bunched together, and 3 to 5 over may be the cut line.
What do I need to do better, I need to hit more fairways, missed fairways at Walton Heath produce stress and bogeys. The heather awaits those that stray off these narrow fairways which is why the low score of the day was 68 despite the calm conditions. The back nine stretch of 12-16 is one of the toughest stretches of par four holes I’ve ever played. So many players were well under par on the front, and then gave back most if not all of their red numbers. Langer was four under on the front and finished -2. Bob Gilder who won on the Champions tour 7 weeks ago was -3 on the front and finished even on the day.
This is just a very very tough course even in these calm conditions. My plan of attack tomorrow is to take less risk off the tee, giving myself a better chance to improve on the 11 greens I hit in regulation. Live scoring can be found at http://www.europeantour.com
tomorrow I go at 12:30 and hope to be happily under the cut line by 5:00 PM. Realistically I don’t see myself in contention against all of these great players, but I can assure you I will give each shot 100% of my focus tomorrow.
Stay tuned for 2nd round results and a look at holes 13-18