Oak Tree’s Scott Verplank will make his Champions Tour debut at the U.S. Senior Open. Verplank turns 50 the day before the tournament begins. Having battled injuries much of his career, Verplank hopes to be in contention on his home course.
“I’m really looking forward to playing here,” Verplank said following his practice round on Monday. “This is going to be awesome. The golf course is in such great shape.”
Verplank fired a 68 in the second round last week at the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Spring, W.Va., but he missed the cut due to a first-round 75.
“I was fine. I played OK the second round, but I still need to play better,” Verplank said. “Fortunately I’m going the right direction. I’m close. I’ve just got to go out and do it.”
LEHMAN NOT INTO PRACTICE ROUNDS
Tom Lehman, an eight-time winner on the Champions Tour, didn’t take part in a Monday practice round.
Instead, he came to Oak Tree seven days ago in preparation, preferring to skip the madness of golfers and fans that took over Oak Tree on Monday.
“I wanted to come early to get a peek at it before everyone descends on it,” Lehman said. “Practice rounds are a zoo, so it’s nice to get some work done on it ahead of time.”
Rather than playing the course, Lehman and a friend walked Oak Tree National and scouted out every inch of the course.
“A lot of times when you play the course, you end up getting more concerned about your swing and you end up trying to hit solid shots and you forget about charting the course and understanding the course,” he said. “To leave the clubs in the car and just walk I think is a good way to prepare.”
Gil Morgan doesn’t expect to win the U.S. Senior Open.
“That would be pretty phenomenal, but probably out of the question,” he said.
He does, however, have a few picks of his own. At the top of his list: Vijay Singh, Kenny Perry, Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer.
That’s not too much of a surprise, seeing as Langer is leading the Champions Tour Charles Schwab Cup after three wins this year, and Montgomerie and Perry are right behind in third and fourth. Langer is coming off a win at the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
Singh, a former world No. 1 golfer, made his debut on the Champions Tour in September.
METICULOUS LANGER RELEARNING OAK TREE