5 Things: Monty stays on top at U.S. Senior
Friday, July 11, 2014
A round of even-par 71 was enough for Colin Montgomerie to keep his one-shot lead at the midpoint of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.
Scott Dunlap shot 68 to pull within a shot of Montgomerie and into solo second, while Bernhard Langer and Gene Sauers each carded their second-straight 2-under 69 to move into a tie for third.
Here are 5 Things to know about Friday's action at Oak Tree:
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1. MONTY MAKES IT WORK: Leader Colin Montgomerie was too steady to be caught Friday, with 14 pars against two birdies and two bogeys.
"It's never easy leading," he said. "You know, I think that the effort was made from the seventh hole onwards. I was 2-over after six and got back it back to level for the day. … Delighted with my position and delighted with the comeback from the sixth hole to birdie 7, and to birdie 17 was a good effort."
Montgomerie said the aura of playing in a major was unmistakably present.
"The nerves are there, the course setup is as good as you could play a proper U.S. Open on this course, never mind the Senior Open," he said. "It's a fantastic setup, run superbly well. Yeah, it feels like a major, it really does."
The Scot said he won't aim for a number on the weekend.
"I just stay ahead of the field and do as well as I can," Montgomerie said. "If I can play anything under par tomorrow, I'll be there and thereabouts for Sunday, and that's what you want to do. You put yourself in the position Saturday evening."
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2. LANGER'S LONG DAY: Bernhard Langer, never to be counted out on Champions Tour of late, had a bit of a roller-coaster day with six birdies against four bogeys.
"Short game was good, really good; made some good putts and good saves," Langer said. Long game wasn't quite up to par. Missed a lot of fairways today, and then you're behind the 8-ball and trying to struggle and scramble.
The German firmly said he'll keep the focus on himself, rather than chasing anyone else.
"I'm not Jesus – I don't know what the future holds, so I have no idea. All I can do is play the best I can, because I don't know what Monty does or Mr. Dunlap or any of the other guys that are thereabouts," Langer said. "So, you know, you can shoot anything. Somebody can shoot a 63 and somebody can go 78 that's in the lead. So you don't know.
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3. DUNLAP GETS A LIFT: Scott Dunlap was bogey-free in rising to second, making his move after the turn with birdies at Nos. 2, 5 and 7. He said his usual solid iron play and some unusually good putting have been key for him so far. "If I'm not going to hit iron shots that are seeking pins and hit a few shots in there close, then I'm going to struggle. That's the strength of my game. I've done that," Dunlap said. "I've also putted very well. I haven't hit it super, super close to the hole. Yeah, from the fairway, you can spin the ball, got an iron in your hand, there's chances to make some birdies. I still gotten the ball up and down a couple times this week where usually that's maybe not my strong suit. So, that's been kind of fun, too, to hold the rounds together, hence the only one bogey."
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4. MORE WDS: Larry Laoretti and Dave Podas were the latest to withdraw from the tourney. Laoretti, on his 75th birthday (and the oldest player competing in the event), WD'd after 12 holes in the wake of a first-round 82. The 1992 champ said it was likely his last U.S. Senior Open, but kept his humor: "I was trying to shoot my age. I guess if I quit on 12 I could have done it." Podas, in his first appearance, cited a medical issue in withdrawing before his tee time Friday; he'd shot 81 Thursday. They joined Darrell Kestner and Kiyoshi Murota on the WD list, as well as others who pulled out before the tournament's first day.
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5. NOTABLE MISSED CUTS: At 8 over, Scott Verplank and Mark Calcavecchia were just one shot outside the cutline as two of the notable players to miss out on the weekend. Others included Peter Jacobsen (12 over), Scott Simpson (12 over), Gary Koch (13 over) and Mark Wiebe (18 over).
– ASAP Sports and Associated Press contributed