Sure, it was cool to watch Padraig Harrington run off the field and nearly capture the 42nd US Senior Open title with a 5-under par 66 Saturday (giving a five-shot lead with 18 holes to go). go) here at Saucon Valley Country Club.
But there was a lot more going on before the television cameras rolled in registering on the cooling meter.
Really? Just like that?
Watching Miguel Angel Jimenez, who drew a nice crowd despite not being in the race, birdied the par 5, 6th hole, made our duffers understand even better why we are duffers.
The cooler thing was how casually he acted. He wasn’t smoking his usual cigar at the time (the stogie would come later in his round), but he just walked up to the flag to have a look, walked back to his ball (which was about 10 yards from the green, and knocked in it.
A tip of the cap and a bow followed, then a smile and on to the next tee.
Not so fast
Golfers love peace and quiet, and when a portable toilet door slammed shut while Jerry Kelly was in his backswing on the fifth tee, the ever-lovable Kelly didn’t flinch. Or grumble. Or yell, as so many others do.
He simply stepped back, regrouped and crushed one on the right side of the fairway.
More than two decades ago, Casey Martin caused a stir in the golf world when he used a cart.
Here a handful of players, including Scott Verplank, use carts and no one seems to care.
Players on the Senior Tour are “encouraged” to walk the course, but carts are allowed.
Australian Stuart Appleby did a young fan a favor by reaching into the cool box set up on each tee in front of the players, grabbing a few bottles of water and handing them over.
With temperatures in the 90s it was a very nice touch.
It’s easy to show up later in the day to check out the final groups (the last pairing didn’t start until 2:55pm), but kudos to those who made it to the morning game.
A 3-over par 74 tied Rocco Mediate in the final round of the 42nd US Senior Open at Saucon Valley Country Club on Saturday 15th.
Players like Jim Furyk, Mark O’Meara, Colin Montgomerie and Vijay Singh were out in the morning wave and the fans showed up to see some of their favourites.
Big Easy turns back the clock
It was cool and funny to hear a dad tell his sons to look at “that guy” and see how easy he makes it look.
Who knows if the man knew that Ernie Els’ nickname is the “Big Easy”? It didn’t really matter.
What mattered was how the 67 Els card (tie for the second lowest round of the day) took him from a tie for 13th to the only possession of fourth place with 4-under par en route to last round of Sunday.
And speaking of roles
Ken Tanigawa’s six straight birdies (on holes seven through 12) not only lifted the standings, but also set a US Senior Open record for consecutive birdies.
He finished the day with a 2-under par 69 and goes into Sunday with a draw in 13th position.
Rob Labritz punches his caddy on the 15th hole during the 2022 US Senior Open at Saucon Valley CC (Old Course) in Bethlehem, Pa. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
Puttin’ on the Labritz
Rob Labritz continues to be the feel-good story of this tournament. (In full disclosure, I had never heard of him either).
The 51-year-old Champions Tour rookie, who had to qualify to even get into this field, shot his third straight 2-under par 69 on Saturday and is tied for second with Gene Sauers at 6-under par.
Not bad for a man who has never played on the PGA Tour (although he did play in eight PGA Championships, finished low on club pro twice) and is only just starting his 12th Champions Tour start.
Do it again on Sunday
The USGA moved the tee up on the 10th hole, shortening the par 4 to just 284 yards, enticing every player to try and drive the green.
Some did, some didn’t, but the audience loved it nonetheless. Let’s hope there’s another rideable par 4 in the mix for Sunday’s final round.
Truer words were…
Saucon Valley’s perfect fairways, glassy greens and overall pristine conditioning prompted one fan to sum things up perfectly.
“This place is nothing like the track I play on a Sunday morning.”
No it doesn’t.