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U.S. Senior Open notebook: Scott Dunlap beats nerves to stay in chase

Scott Dunlap overcame his bad start Saturday at Oak Tree National by hitting three birdies to counter additional bogeys on No. 9 and 15.
by Scott Wright and Michael Baldwin Published: July 12, 2014

Scott Dunlap entered Saturday thinking he would be nervous, expecting to have a bad start.

He was right.

Dunlap birdied two of his first three holes

“What had me nervous?” Dunlap said. “U.S. Senior Open, third day, last group. I have been somewhat in that position, but it's been a long time, like maybe 2000 with Tiger at a PGA.”

In the 2000 PGA Championship, Dunlap finished the third round at 12-under, one stroke behind Tiger Woods.

Woods won the tournament at 18-under, and Dunlap faded to 9-under and ninth place.

However, Dunlap overcame his bad start Saturday at Oak Tree National by hitting three birdies to counter additional bogeys on No. 9 and 15. He is tied with Bernhard Langer for second place at 4-under, three strokes behind Gene Sauers, and the nerves will continue another day.

“It's just nature,” Dunlap said. “A lot of guys won't own up to it, but when you watch them shoot 75 and don't look like the same guy two days ago, it wasn't just a calendar flip.”

DAWSON BOUNCES AROUND LEADERBOARD

On Thursday, Marco Dawson shot 5-under 66 at Oak Tree National, and he said it might have been the round of his life.

Friday, he followed that with a 5-over 76.

Saturday?

Dawson started fairly consistent, sitting at 1-over through six holes. Then, he started hitting fairways and got hot with the putter. He birdied six of his next nine holes to move to 5-under and what was then a three-way tie for the lead.

But as Dawson has discovered this week, it’s not that easy. He bogeyed 16, 17, and 18 to finish at 2-under overall and tied for fifth.

“I hate to say it, but I think there is some luck involved where the bounces are,” Dawson said.

ROCCO AND TIGER

Rocco Mediate has heard the question over and over. Friday, he heard it once more.

It was about Mediate’s playoff loss to Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. Mediate, who is 2-over par in the U.S. Senior Open, was the last golfer to truly go toe-to-toe with Woods in top form.

“I don't like to think about it myself that often,” Mediate said. “You know, that's been six years, believe it or not. Isn't that amazing? Feels like it was a week ago. I don't really pay much attention to it. People always ask. That's fine. I never get mad. I always say I lost. What do you think about the Open in '08? I lost.”

As for Woods’ chances in next week’s Open Championship, Mediate said he hopes Woods is able to change his swing and contend in another major.

“He's got to fix his golf swing,” Mediate said. “I have said it before, I will say it again. That's what caused his injuries and it will cause it again if it doesn't change. I have been through it. I know exactly what I'm talking about in that situation.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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