Colin Montgomerie was 2-over through six holes Friday at the U.S. Senior Open, but after a birdie on No. 7, he played trademark consistent golf to vault back on the top of the leaderboard.
He shot par on every hole from there on out, with the exception of a birdie on 17 that gave him a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap.
“If I can play anything under par tomorrow, I'll be there and thereabouts for Sunday,” Montgomerie said. “That's what you want to do. You put yourself in the position Saturday evening.”
Montgomerie’s biggest threat might be Bernhard Langer, who is two strokes off the lead after a 2-under round featuring six birdies and four bogeys.
Langer is the Champions Tour money leader, but he wouldn’t make a judgment on his chances to make a weekend charge.
“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. “You can shoot anything. Somebody can shoot a 63 and somebody can go 78 that's in the lead. You don't know.”
SAUERS THINKS HE CAN HANG
Montgomerie and Langer are arguably the two best golfers on the Champions Tour, but Gene Sauers said he thinks he can contend through Sunday.
Sauers shot 2-under Friday to bring him to 4-under on the tournament, and he might be at the top of the leaderboard if not for a few mistakes
Sauers made three birdies Friday and notched an eagle on No. 7, but three bogeys kept his score in check.
“I consider myself a good player, a great player,” Sauers said. “Just a matter of fact of getting these putts to drop for me. I think I compete every week with these guys. Bernhard, he plays good every dad-gone week. I hit it just as good as he does, but he makes more putts.”
SINGH STILL COMMITTED TO PGA TOUR
At 51, former world No.1 Vijay Singh has finished in the top 25 in three PGA events.
He’s currently splitting duty between the Champions Tour and PGA Tour, and is four strokes off the lead at the U.S. Senior Open. Singh shot even-par Friday after three bogeys on the back nine.
Singh, who refused to take part in multiple press conferences Thursday and Friday, said in a release the Champions Tour isn’t vastly different from the PGA Tour other than shorter courses.
“I played in Hawaii last year and had a good feel of what’s going on,” Singh said. “I watch enough senior tour on the Golf Chanel, and I have talked to a lot of players that have been playing.
“I may commit to a couple more (Champions Tour events), but I’m still pretty committed to the regular tour.”
LYNN GETS CALL TO CADDIE
Oklahoma Christian men’s golf coach David Lynn enjoyed his experience as a caddie at the U.S. Senior Open for 36 holes — well, 35 holes — at Oak Tree National.
Carrying the bag for Fred Hanover, an alternate who got a spot in the field on Thursday when Jay Haas pulled out, Lynn handed the bag to Hanover’s son, Jackson, for the 18th hole on Friday. Jackson’s 14th birthday was Thursday.
Hanover found out earlier this week that he was one of the top alternates for the tournament and he contacted Lynn — who he knew through college coaching — to be his caddie if he got in.
But no call came, so by Thursday afternoon, Lynn had given up. He was across the street at Oak Tree Country Club, on the driving range with one of his OC players.
“At 2:25, Fred sent me a text message that he was in and he was teeing off in 30 minutes with Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman,” Lynn said. “I thought he was joking at first, but I went into full panic mode trying to get over here.”
Lynn jumped in a golf cart and drove across to the course, but didn’t have the right credentials to get in. He finally made his way in and made it to the tee five minutes before the round started.
Lynn has another exciting experience lined up for next week, too. Former OC golfer Rhein Gibson qualified for the British Open by finishing fourth in the Australian Open last December.
“We’re gonna go play some golf in Scotland for a couple days, then drive back down and watch him play at Royal Liverpool,” Lynn said. “I’m super-excited to do that. I’ve never been over there and I’m rooting for Rhein to have a good tournament.”
OLDEST GOLFER WITHDRAWS
The oldest golfer in the U.S. Senior Open field withdrew from the tournament Friday.
Larry Laoretti, who turned 75 Friday, checked out after 12 holes on the day. He was 25 over par at that point.
Laorretti won the 1992 U.S. Senior Open, but no longer plays competitively on a regular basis. He said course officials from his home club and his friend Donnie Weeks, who is an Oak Tree member, convinced him to play.
“I think this is my last go,” he said. “It’s just too hard. I’m not competitive. I don’t play any tournaments at home. I just play with the guys. It’s very difficult for me.”
Laoretti’s best finish in a regular major was a tie for 49th in the 1966 PGA Championship.
FUNK’S SON STEPS IN AS CADDIE
With three holes to go, the heat became too much for Buck Moore to handle, so Olin Browne found himself in need of a caddie.
He turned to Taylor Funk, the son of golfer Fred Funk, who was playing with Browne and Roger Chapman.
Browne said he’ll likely use Taylor Funk again Saturday to let Moore recover, but Moore should return on Sunday.
Taylor Funk, who will be entering his second year as a member of the University of Texas golf team, played in the Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship earlier this week, which was held at Southern Hills in Tulsa. He finished tied for eighth.
FAN WINS LEXUS
Chuck Mills, a former mayor of Shawnee, won a Lexus RC350 F Sport after hitting a hole-in-one on the golf simulator inside the Lexus Performance pavilion.