EDMOND — 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.”
VERY LITTLE RED
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.
SATURDAY’S WEATHER FORECAST
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.
VOLUNTEER USES ‘FOOT WEDGE’
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.”
When Hanover arrived at the green, he asked if he had hit anyone. Everyone pointed to Higgins, who works for Delaware Research, which trains second lieutenants at Tinker Air Force Base to be air weapons battle managers on AWACS.
Hanover said, “Thanks,” but it wasn’t a difference-maker. Hanover finished the tournament 39-over, the highest score in the field.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m not Jesus. I don’t know what the future holds, so I have no idea. All I can do is play the best I can because I don’t know what Monty does or Mr. (Scott) Dunlap or any of the other guys.” — Bernard Langer on forecasting what score it will take to win the tournament.
GROUPS TO FOLLOW
In addition to the leaders going off around 12:30 p.m., and four players with Oklahoma ties, here are a few other twosomes fans might consider following during Saturday’s third round.
9:35 a.m.: Oak Tree’s Willie Wood will play with Jeff Wilson, one of two amateurs to make the cut.
10:15 a.m.: Bart Bryant and Rocco Mediate, both top 15 on the Champions Tour scoring list, are capable of mounting a charge.
11:25 a.m.: Esteban Toledo, the personable player from Mexico, and Hall of Famer Tom Kite are seven shots off the lead.
The 13th hole, a downhill, 206-yard par 3 with water in front and to the left of the green, was Friday’s danger hole. Only nine birdies were recorded and the hole played more than half a stroke above par at 3.684.
Twenty-six players recorded double-bogeys and nine had triple-bogey or worse.
No. 9, a 414-yard par 4, wasn’t very friendly either, yielding only six birdies all day.
The par 5 No. 7 was the place to score Friday, with more players recording birdies (60) than pars (55). It was the hole with the most birdies and the fewest pars. Only five eagles were made Friday, all coming at the seventh, which played under par for the day. The field recorded a stroke average of 4.830.
The par 5 No. 14 played only slightly tougher, with an average of 5.046, yielding 38 birdies. No other hole allowed more than 23 birdies.