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U.S. Senior Open: Scene and Heard on Friday

by Scott Wright and Michael Baldwin Published: July 11, 2014

— Most of the 2,100 volunteers at the U.S. Senior Open are given three choices. Chris Walla’s top choice was working one of 14 leaderboards sprinkled around Oak Tree National.

During Friday morning’s second-round, Walla, an IT specialist at Chesapeake, was informed they needed someone to work the monster leaderboard located next to the grandstands near the No. 18 green.

“I knew it was the old-school leaderboards, which sounded like a lot of fun,” Walla said. “(On Thursday) I worked the leaderboard on (hole) No. 9. When I got here early (Friday) morning they told me they needed someone on 18. I told them I’d be thrilled.”

Behind the scoreboard, 10 rows feature seven-inch by seven-inch squares, each providing specific instructions. For example, Row 4, No. 10 indicates the seventh player’s overall tournament score through the 10th hole.

If a player gets hot, someone on the crew grabs black, magnetic letters off a table to add their name to the leaderboard and then adds that player’s score through every hole they’ve played during their current round.

“You’re busy constantly updating fans on players’ scores on the current hole and the overall leaderboard, but I also knew working leaderboards you’d get to see some of the action,” Walla said. “I’ve had a blast the first two days.”


Red numbers on the leaderboard indicate under-par scores. After two rounds, only a dozen players are under par heading into Saturday’s third round.


The third round on Saturday should feature similar weather to Friday’s second round. Forecasts call for temperatures in the mid-90s with southwest winds ranging from 13-16 mph, which will make scoring difficult as fairways and greens at Oak Tree National get harder and faster.


Jeffrey Higgins, a volunteer who has worked as a marshal near the green on No. 4, a par 3, yelled ‘Fore’ when Fred Hanover’s tee shot headed for spectators located behind the ropes on a hill above the green. Hanover’s ball hit Higgins’ foot and rolled into a swell near the green.

“I’ve got a story to tell friends,” said Higgins, who placed an ice bag on his foot the remainder of his four-hour shift. “(Laughing) I saved him a par and he didn’t even sign a ball.”

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by Scott Wright
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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