TURNBERRY, Scotland — Bernard Langer shot a 4-under 66 Saturday for a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples heading into the final round of the Senior British Open.
Couples had seven birdies in a round of 64, while Peter Fowler finished with a 65 to trail the leader by two shots.
"I'm just happy to be in the hunt with 18 holes to play," said Langer, who won this title two years ago at Carnoustie. "There's a lot of guys in with a chance, so I know I'll have to shoot one of the lower scores to win."
Americans John Cook (66) and overnight leader Gary Hallberg (73) joined England's Barry Lane (66) at four shots back.
Couples had birdies at Nos. 1, 3 and 7, 8, 9. On the back nine, he had two birdies and dropped one shot at the 14th.
"It was a very, very good day," Couples said. "Once I got going, I didn't miss many shots. I hit my irons solid and when I hit them close, I made the putt."
Tom Watson (66) and Tom Lehman (73) were seven shots behind Langer.
On a day of low scoring despite strong wind ...
TURNBERRY, Scotland — Gary Hallberg of the United States made eight birdies in a 7-under 63 Friday during the windy second round of the Senior British Open, taking a three-stroke lead on Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.
Langer had a 73 after his opening 64, logging a triple-bogey 7 on the 13th hole.
"I think Gary's 63 is the round of the year. Shooting 7 under today is like 10 or 11 under on a decent day. That's how good it was and I take my hat off to him," Langer said.
Like Langer, Lehman played when the wind was at its strongest, with gusts up to 25 mph. He managed one birdie at the 17th and dropped shots on the 11th and 14th to finish with a 71.
"When I saw Gary's score going on the board I thought, 'Wow! Did he play the par-3 course across the road?' He's a bit of a character, so nothing surprises me what he might shoot," Lehman said.
Hallberg dropped his only shot at the second hole, then mastered the conditions with eight birdies. He got three on the run from the fifth to go out in 33. He ...
TURNBERRY, Scotland — Former champion Pete Oakley was penalized two shots at the Senior British Open on Friday after the caddie — his wife — took too long locating his ball on a fairway during the second round.
The 63-year-old from Florida, who won the 2004 title at Royal Portrush, was penalized for 'undue delay' when playing the 13th hole. His wife was confused when a ball from a group on the 10th tee landed nearby.
"I was looking at the wrong fairway," Jennifer Oakley said.
European Tour Senior Referee Andy McFee said: "It came to our attention that Pete Oakley was having some trouble on the 13th hole.
"He stood by the bunker where his ball had landed for two or three minutes, then there was a couple of minutes wandering up to the tee, then a couple of minutes for the rules official to go and get the caddie from the 10th and bring her back."
As a result, Oakley had to sign for an 83 instead of an 81. However, at 16 over, he had comfortably missed the cut.
"I might not have been laughing so much about it if the two-shot penalty had seen me miss the cut," Oakley ...
TURNBERRY, Scotland — Roger Chapman's hopes of equaling Jack Nicklaus' record of three senior major victories in a season ended Friday when a neck injury forced him out of the Senior British Open.
The injury had troubled the Englishman during his round of 72 on the first day. He withdrew before the start of the second round.
Chapman had already won the Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open this year and was the pre-tournament favorite at Turnberry.
Nicklaus accomplished the feat of three major victories in 1991, winning The Tradition, Senior PGA and Senior Open.
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England –- Russ Cochran has toured Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club, only not as planned. Instead of being a competitor, he was a spectator, and while he has loved the view of the 141st Open Championship, he knows it would have been better from inside the ropes.
So he’d love to earn another spot into the field?
Cochran, 53, smiled, and nodded his head. “Guess I’m going to have to win the Senior Open another time,” he said.
Alas, that won’t happen this year because Cochran as he left the third round of Saturday’s Open Championship confirmed that he had withdrawn from this week’s Senior Open at Turnberry in Scotland.
“I can’t play. Just can’t do it,” Cochran said.
For the first time in his life, Cochran said he’s having back problems and it came on with very little warning. He withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open after two rounds, but still made the trip to England in hopes of playing in Open Championship, for which he was exempt thanks to winning last year’s Senior Open Championship.
But Cochran said he only played 12 Wednesday and deemed ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. — Roger Chapman earned the right to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.
Not bad for a self-described former European Tour journeyman.
The Englishman shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday to win the U.S. Senior Open by two strokes at 10 under at Indianwood. He won the Senior PGA Championship by the same margin two months ago on the other side of Michigan.
Chapman, Nicklaus, Player and Irwin are the only players to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship in the same year.
"It's a true honor," Chapman said.
Before this year, his career highlight was a European Tour win in Brazil in 2000.
Bernhard Langer (72), Fred Funk (67), Tom Lehman (68) and Corey Pavin (68) finished tied for second at 8-under 272 at the Champions Tour's fourth of five majors. Pavin's two-stroke penalty after his first round for hitting a ball that moved a fraction of an inch proved to be costly.
Entering the final round, it seemed as if the only lingering question was how easily Langer would win.
Langer, though, found out what the first- and second-round leaders ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. -- Bernhard Langer was two strokes behind when the day started. He was four strokes ahead when it ended. He manhandled par with 9 birdies in 18 holes. He shot 64, the lowest round of the tournament.
Just how did that happen?
During the first 12 holes of Saturday’s third round at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, Langer grabbed the U.S. Senior Open lead by the throat. With eight birdies and four pars through 12 holes, he was 8 under for the day.
Coming off three consecutive birdies at 10, 11 and 12, Langer double bogeyed the par-3 13th hole. Could it be? It was like Superman running into kryptonite.
No matter. He added his 9th birdie of the day at 15, then cruised home until he three-putted from 100 feet for a closing bogey at 18.
The reality: Despite a double bogey and a bogey, Langer demolished the field in his quest for another U.S. Senior Open victory. He won the title in 2010, when he outplayed Fred Couples in the last round.
Heading into the final round of the 2012 championship, Langer is four strokes ahead of five players -- Roger Chapman, John Huston, Tom ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. — Fred Couples joked that someone will have to close with a 60 to catch Bernhard Langer at the U.S. Senior Open.
That might not be low enough.
Langer shot a 6-under 64 on Saturday to move to 10 under for the tournament, putting him ahead of a big-name field by four strokes.
"That's not a huge lead," he insisted. "That can disappear in no time. I'm going to have to get out there and shoot under par. That's my goal.
"If I go 2 under or 3 under, it will be very difficult for anyone to catch me. And if they do, they deserve to win."
The two-time Masters champion opened with three straight birdies and eight in 12 holes at Indianwood, a course with tight and unforgiving fairways and undulating greens.
"He didn't win two Masters by luck," said Corey Pavin, who was in a five-way tie for second place. "He's an exceptionally good player, very methodical."
Langer didn't miss a green in regulation during the third round until the par-3 No. 13, where a double bogey cut his cushion to three shots. He bounced back with a birdie ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. - Senior golf is often a time warp, but Friday’s second round of the U.S. Senior Open was particularly significant for any student of major-championship history.
In 1995, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin battled each other - as well as Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson - in the final round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton. N.Y.
Pavin took that one, closing with a 68 for a 280 total. Lehman and Norman were tied for the lead heading into the last round, but both were passed by Pavin. Norman finished second at 282, while Lehman was third at 283.
For Lehman, it would be the first of three consecutive U.S. Opens in which he would play in the final pairing on the final day and fail to win.
It seems like yesterday. Playing the 72nd hole with a one-stroke lead over Norman, Pavin was standing at the bottom of a small hill, 4-wood in hand. The wind was howling. He was 228 yards from the flagstick.
Pavin proceeded to hit one of golf’s all-time greatest pressure shots, his ball stopping 4 feet from the cup. He made the birdie putt.
LAKE ORION, Mich. – There are devils out there. Mostly they prey on golfers who are putting.
Every player – smooth putting stroke or not – has danced with these putting demons. The disorder starts with a balky stroke here or a three-putt there. It progresses to a major breakdown, the golfer being totally afflicted with the heebie jeebies.
Welcome aboard. You are possessed by the goblins of the greens.
Tom Kite knows these monsters. Though Kite has won the U.S. Open and totaled 19 victories on the PGA Tour and 10 on the Champions Tour, there have been rounds in recent years when the hole must have seemed as small as a quarter. His ball just didn’t seem to fit.
Let it be known that Thursday was not one of those days.
In the U.S. Senior Open here at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, Kite had 11 putts on the front nine. He shot 28, a U.S. Golf Association championship record for nine holes. The USGA has been contesting its championships since 1895, and nobody ever shot a 28 until Kite’s 1-eagle, 5-birdie, 3-par performance.
The par on each nine at Indianwood is 35, so Kite was 7-under ...
On occasion, the stroll down memory fairway elicits tinges of regret that can be mixed with the joy. In other words, for all the great shots, there are mulligans that some folks sure wish were granted.
Like the decision in 1998 to restrict Casey Martin to a single-rider golf cart for the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. It made the U.S. Golf Association look bad, given the instability of the vehicle over such uneven terrain, and when David Fay, then the executive director of the USGA, took one out for a ride himself, he was aghast.
“It was like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” Fay said.
They were quick with their apologies, not to mention permission for Martin to drive the customary golf cart. It was the proper call to make, even if enough of the embarrassment had settled in.
But as he recalled that incident, Fay said he was reminded of another one that may not have been handled well by the USGA, one that is easily re-visited today on the occasion of the opening round of the U.S. Senior Open. It was 25 years ago, also in the first round of that tournament, when ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. – All you men out there – especially senior men – you will love this one: The golf course for the 2012 U.S. Senior Open is being played at a shorter distance than the course for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open.
Yes, the official yardage at Indianwood Golf and Country Club totals 6,891 yards for the senior men, while Black Wolf Run had an official yardage of 6,954 yards for the women.
Hey, guys, U.S. Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi, who probably weighs 125 pounds soaking wet, must hit the ball farther than you do.
Well, maybe not, but it’s virtually impossible to overstate the influence of distance in professional golf today. Even the women are clobbering the ball, and it seems just a matter of time before 7,000 yards becomes something of a benchmark for the women of the LPGA while 8,000 yards is more realistic each year for the men of the PGA Tour.
Okay, men, let’s elevate that bench press from 135 pounds to 300 pounds. Push, push, you can do it.
So how can Indianwood, at less than 6,900 yards, stand as a ...
LAKE ORION, Mich. -- My phone rings. It’s Rick Vershure, someone I have admired for a long time.
Vershure, head pro at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., is one of America’s top club professionals. He reminds me of one of those old-time club pros from the New York metropolitan area -- they lived and breathed golf, they were gregarious and friendly and could tell a thousand golf stories, they enjoyed teaching, they were superb players.
They could do it all, and that’s the way Vershure patterns his life as a golf professional. He is a consummate golf guy. In his outstanding career as a club pro, he has qualified for two PGA Championships and two U.S. Opens.
Now he has gone to a lot of trouble to track me down in the Detroit suburbs. What does he want?
Basically he wants to put the U.S. Senior Open in perspective. The Senior Open starts here Thursday at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, and Vershure should be here. But he isn’t.
In a qualifier at Arcola Country Club in Paramus, N.J., Vershure was co-medalist with a 3-under 69. Later he was disqualified for using nonconforming ...
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Kirk Triplett won the First Tee Open on Sunday at Pebble Beach for his first Champions Tour title, making an early eagle and closing with a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory.
Triplett, the two-time PGA Tour winner making his eighth start on the senior tour after turning 50 in March, finished at 10-under 206. He opened with a 70 at Pebble Beach and had a 70 at Del Monte on Saturday to enter the final round four strokes behind leaders Tom Kite and Brad Bryant.
Triplett eagled the par-5 second hole, and chipped in on the par-4 16th for the last of his five birdies. He had only one bogey in the final round, on the par-3 12th.
Mark McNulty was second after a 69.
Bryant, Jay Haas and Bill Glasson tied for third at 6 under. Haas and Glasson shot 69, and Bryant had a 74.
The 62-year-old Kite closed with a 76 to tie for ninth at 4 under. Jeff Sluman, the 2008, 2009 and 2011 winner, also was 4 under after a 67.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tom Kite shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday at Pebble Beach for a share of the lead with Brad Bryant after the second round of the First Tee Open.
The 62-year-old Kite won the 1983 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am and 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the site of the final round Sunday in the Champions Tour event.
"I didn't play quite as well today tee to green as I did yesterday," said Kite, who won the last of his 10 Champions Tour titles in 2008. "But I made some nice recoveries. Beginning on the 11th hole, I began make some nice shots."
He's in position to become the third oldest tour winner behind Mike Fetchick and Gary Player.
"I'm pleased to be playing well," Kite said. "It's nice to do something and feel like I have a chance. Fifty year olds keep winning. It's more difficult, but I'm on a golf course I know well and like a lot."
Bryant, winless since the 2007 U.S. Senior Open, had a 67 at Del Monte to match Kite at 8 under.
The 58-year-old Bryant is playing with a ruptured tendon ...