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U.S. Senior Open notebook: Gil Morgan shoots 1-over to lead Oak Tree Gang

By Cody Stavenhagen, Staff Writer Published: July 10, 2014

Gil Morgan didn’t seem too pleased with his opening round Thursday at the U.S. Senior Open, but he played well enough to top his fellow members of the Oak Tree Gang.

The 67-year-old Morgan shot 1-over 72 on the day, and though he’s tied for 28th, he had a meaningful opening round on his home course.

“I'm kind of at the end of it somewhat, and so it may be the last time I'm going to play in any type of major championship, at least at this site for sure,” Morgan said. “You got a lot of fans and friends that are rooting you on, and you hate to disappoint them so you try hard and just hope for the best. I actually played fairly decent, I guess.”

Morgan said he left three or four putts barely short, and that made a big difference in his day. Still, he finished two strokes ahead of Bob Tway and Willie Wood, and three ahead of Scott Verplank.


Marco Dawson is only a familiar name if you spent Thursday watching the Oak Tree National leaderboard.

In 19 years of pro golf, Dawson has only one win, but he shot a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday, good for second place after one round in his first U.S. Senior Open.

“It is probably the second-best round, maybe the first-best round (I’ve ever played),” Dawson said. “It just seemed to happen, you know — birdie, birdie, birdie the last three holes so I ended up 5-under.”

Dawson shot a 64 in the third round of the Senior PGA in May, and despite being a relatively unknown golfer, he has placed ninth, ninth and 15th in his first three Champions Tour majors.

Dawson said being young for the Champions Tour, along with his distance off the tee, might be his biggest advantages in four-round majors. Non-majors are three rounds on the Champions Tour.

“I hate to say it, but a lot of these guys get tired because of their age,” Dawson said. “They get tired after three rounds … Being that I’m 50, I guess I’m the rookie out here.”


No members of the Oak Tree gang shot in the red Thursday, but one other golfer who knows the course well did.

Mark Brooks, a Texas native, shot 3-under to finish with the best score of anyone in the afternoon session. Brooks, who won the 1996 PGA Championship, lost the 2001 U.S. Open in Tulsa to Retief Goosen in a playoff.

“I’ve been playing (in Oklahoma) since high school,” Brooks said. “I’m comfortable here. My mother and father both are Oklahomans. I have a lot of Oklahoma blood in me.”

Scott Dunlap, Gene Sauers and Vijay Singh each finished at 2-under in the afternoon session and are tied for fourth.


Thursday’s morning session was delayed 1 hour and 17 minutes because of lightning, but no golfers complained about the delay throwing them off.

Colin Montgomerie joked he might have shot a 62 rather than his Thursday-best 65 without the delay, though he said the early morning darkness did get his attention.

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