U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Kelly Shoots 66, Seizes Two-Stroke Lead in Round 1
June 28, 2018 | Colorado Springs, Colo.
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Jerry Kelly broke from the gate on Thursday with four birdies in his first six holes and stayed bogey-free until No. 18 to carve out an opening 4-under-par 66, which gives him a two-stroke lead after Round 1 of the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Broadmoor.
Kelly leads a quartet of players who sit at 2-under 68, including 2016 U.S. Senior Open runner-up Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, and Rocco Mediate, who was the runner-up 10 years ago to Tiger Woods in one of the most memorable U.S. Opens in history. Also at 68 are Kevin Sutherland, who has a pair of top 10s in four starts in this championship, and Deane Pappas of South Africa.
“I hit the ball really well today,” said Kelly, 51, who has three wins apiece on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. “My coach, Jim Schuman, is playing in the tournament as well. He really helped me and got me squared away. Shots were coming out where I wanted them to. So, fun round.”
Kelly added a 4-foot birdie on the par-4 13th hole – of his five birdies, none of the putts was longer than 8 feet. In fact, his longest putt of the day was the 15-footer he made to save par on No. 10, the 503-yard par 4 that played as the toughest hole of the day.
Conditions on The Broadmoor’s East Course, a mix of holes designed by Donald Ross and Robert Trent Jones Sr., were made more challenging by temperatures in the mid-90s and shifting winds that gusted as high as 30 miles an hour.
“The wind was crazy,” said two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who was one of only three other players to better par at 1-under 69. “It was blowing out of the southeast and then north and east; it was just everywhere. I was playing No. 12 and the wind switched back and forth three or four times.”
Janzen, a college teammate of Mediate’s at Florida Southern, was joined at 1 under by two-time USGA champion Billy Mayfair, who tied for second in his U.S. Senior Open debut in 2016, and Scott Parel, who has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour Champions in 2018.
“The strategy for the course is going to be: Be careful, be patient, put the ball in the right spot, try to keep it below the hole as much as possible,” said Janzen, 53, who won his second U.S. Open 20 years ago and has two top 10s in this championship. “Don’t get put off by anything. And just plug away and do your best.”
A group of six players at even-par 70 includes 2001 PGA champion David Toms and Tim Hogarth, the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, one of 24 amateurs who are competing in this championship. Amateurs Robby Funk and Mike Finster both shot 2-over 72.
Among the group of 11 players at 1-over 71 are two-time and defending champion Kenny Perry, 2014 champion Colin Montgomerie, 2010 runner-up Fred Couples and Davis Love III, who is making his debut in this championship at age 54.
17th hole plays at record length in Round 1:
The 17th hole at The Broadmoor was set up at 559 yards for Round 1, making it the longest par 4 ever played in a USGA Open championship. The length eclipses the 13th hole at Chambers Bay, which played 551 yards for Round 2 of the 2015 U.S. Open. No. 17 plays slightly downhill and was also downwind on Thursday, and it played as the second-toughest hole in Round 1 at a 4.58 stroke average, just behind the 505-yard, par-4 10th (4.65). The Broadmoor’s listed yardage for this week (7,264) is 10 yards longer than it played in 2008. That also makes it the second-longest course in U.S. Senior Open history, behind Crooked Stick’s 7,316 yards in 2009.
Pavin’s Round Unravels
Corey Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion who along with Lee Janzen and Tom Kite is seeking to add a U.S. Senior Open title to their U.S. Open triumph, was near the top of the leader board for a good portion of his round Thursday afternoon. He arrived at the 13th tee at 2 under par, but proceeded to make three consecutive bogeys and finished with a sloppy double bogey at No. 18 to close out a 3-over-par 73. He’ll have to rebound with a strong round Friday morning to keep his hopes alive of becoming just the eighth player to win a U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open.
Fairways and Greens: Statistical leaders from Round 1:
No one in the field hit all 14 fairways or all 18 greens on Thursday, but a few came close. Six players hit 13 of 14 fairways: Lee Janzen, David Frost, Craig Bowden, Scott Dunlap, Fred Funk and Glen Day. Kevin Sutherland and Rocco Mediate, who both shot 68, and first-round leader Kelly were among 10 players who hit 12 fairways. Sutherland and Dunlap were the only two players in the field to hit 17 of 18 greens.
Viewing schedule for Round 2 from The Broadmoor:
Friday’s Round 2 will receive bonus coverage on usga.org from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. EDT, and the featured group of Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst will be shown on usga.org from 1:30–6:30 p.m. EDT. Television coverage will air on FS1 from 1:30–6:30 p.m. EDT.
Good luck to all the players and of course the maintenance staff @TheBroadmoor for the @USGA #USSeniorOpen. Remembering my time at the same club 10 years ago for the same event! I’ll see everyone down there tomorrow for 3 days of volunteering. pic.twitter.com/JKYlh9bRdc— Zach Bauer (@ZBTurf411) June 28, 2018
John Smoltz, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, who shot 15-over 85 in Round 1:
“I put myself in some really, really tough spots to accomplish pars. I thought I hit some really good drives that just ended up in the rough and unfortunately for me, they all went to the bottom. I never dreamt I would only get this many pars (5). When we watch golf, we all think, I can do that, I can break 80 at that course. Not in an Open. There’s not a 5 or 6 or 7 handicapper who could break 90 at most USGA Opens. It’s really hard. But I’ll do better [on Friday].”
Smoltz, on whether he was disappointed with his USGA debut:
“I’m too big of a competitor to be happy about my round. But to get here was incredible, checking off a bucket list. And everyone’s been cheering me on. My family and friends, they stuck around, and I’m happy they did. But I would have left. I couldn’t have watched myself anymore.”
Rocco Mediate, who shot 2-under 68 in the morning wave of Round 1:
“I like when it costs you something to miss fairways. It’s mostly gone, and the only thing that keeps it alive is our U.S. Opens. It used to be something that was important. Even on the Tour for all the years I played, you had to drive it straight. That’s where you should be, that’s where the game starts. I’ve always loved our National Open because of the test it gives you.”
Defending champion Kenny Perry, who opened with 1-over 71:
“All in all, a good start. The short putts have a lot of break. It’s hard when you’re used to banging them in the hole, now you’ve got to play them outside the hole and let them ease in, because if you don't make it, it’s going to go 4 feet by. I drove it beautifully, only missed two fairways. If I can drive it like this the next three days and figure the putting out, it's going to be a fun week.”
Kevin Sutherland, who shot 2-under 68 in the morning wave, on the capricious winds:
“It was crazy. It would blow incredibly hard one direction and then all of a sudden it was like you were in a dome, like there was no wind at all. And then it would blow really, really hard in a completely different direction. Some of that is being in the mountains. I’m from California, so I’ve played my share of mountain golf at elevation. It was hard to judge.”
Stan Souza, who made the 20th hole-in-one in U.S. Senior Open history, with a 7-iron on the 175-yard fourth hole, in a round of 88:
“My son [who was caddieing for Souza] said, ‘Dad, the last thing you want to do is hit it over the green.’ So I hit a little soft 7-iron, and I didn’t see it go in, but I heard the crowd go wild. It was my eighth hole-in-one and the first major that my son’s seen his dad play in. I played in the Masters, but he wasn’t born then.”
Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.