U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Round 3: Five Things to Know
June 30, 2018 | Colorado Springs, Colo.
By Dave Shedloski
As that famous philosopher Miguel Angel Jimenez so elegantly said Friday in describing the challenges here at The Broadmoor in the 39th U.S. Senior Open: “I can say I don’t miss any putt. I hit the whole thing right in the middle, but then the hole is moving.”
If the endearing Spaniard thinks things were moving before, just wait. Saturday is moving day in this championship, and if it’s anything like the U.S. Open two weeks ago – when Daniel Berger and Tony Finau charged up the leader board from 45th place to a share of the lead at Shinnecock Hills – we’re in for one wild ride.
Sixty players made the cut but only eight men stand under par, including the aforementioned Jimenez, who let a terrific chance to win this title slip through his fingers two years ago at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. After a pair of late bogeys opened the door for Gene Sauers, he offered another tidbit of wisdom:
“It’s golf. But damn it, I wanted to win.”
That about sums up the emotions of the moment, even if we’re only halfway finished. No one can win today, but the key is not losing it.
Here are five things to watch for on Day 3:
1. Familiar Foes: Jimenez and Jerry Kelly, who at 5 under leads by a stroke, will play together for the third consecutive round. Both have one victory on the PGA Tour Champions this year and have combined for 14 top-10 finishes in 23 starts. It’s a comfortable pairing, so expect them to continue to play well.
2. Paul Goydos: After a bogey-double bogey start to his inward nine on Friday afternoon, Goydos played his next five holes in 3-3-2-3-3 (4 under par) and is tied for fourth heading into the weekend. The comeback was notable for at least one reason. “Generally, after I go bogey, double, I go ballistic, break all my clubs. I generally don't have that much patience, quite frankly,” said the California native, who wore a shirt he picked up in the championship merchandise pavilion. Goydos is in his best position after 36 holes in four U.S. Senior Open starts.
3. Bounce: Yeah, that’s what a ball does. But expect more, um, elasticity to be on display on Saturday, unless a little bit of weather moves in, which it might. “They probably put their last bit of water on it [the course],” Jay Haas figured. “And it was already starting to get a little quicker in places.” Quicker and firmer means potentially fewer fairways hit, fewer greens hit and then you have, well, maybe some ballistics. (See above.)
4. Bernhard Langer: The normally placid German looked like he was about to bury his putter into the 10th green on Friday after missing another par putt on the way to a 76. The 2010 champion has never finished worse than 22nd in his previous 10 starts in the U.S. Senior Open, and after making the cut on the number this year, it might be worth keeping an eye on how he responds after two very un-Langer-like days. Could he channel Berger and Finau? Someone’s going to make a move. He’s certainly out early enough with the day’s second tee time, 8:56 a.m. MDT.
5. A whole new golf course: Winds have been shifting the first two days, and that is expected to continue. On Saturday, they are expected to shift from the north and then turn southeast, then east, and then north again, and by the time everyone finishes, there’s liable to be an epidemic of neck strains. Oh, and those winds might gust up to 30 miles per hour at times. Needless to say, the East Course is going to play unpredictably. “There's things I'm going to miss,” said Kirk Triplett, who shot 66 on Friday. “I missed a bunch of stuff yesterday, and I missed a few things today and there's a lot of local knowledge out there.” Hey, just remember, it’s the same for everyone. The hole is moving.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.