Sahalee performs to Open expectations
SAMMAMISH, Wash. - The U.S. Senior Open is supposed to be harder than your week-to-week Champions Tour event. In Thursday's first round, it sure was.
"It's challenging and we're not challenged like this but once or twice a year," said Jay Haas, who shot a 70 at Sahalee CC in the afternoon, when one caddie described the greens as "spooky."
Mark Calcavecchia, Joe Ozaki and Bernhard Langer fared best among the p.m. starters, shooting one-under 69s to trail leader Bruce Vaughan by three shots after the first round. Not only were the greens extremely firm, causing approaches to frequently carom long, the hole locations were tucked - eight were positioned four yards or less from the edge.
"Corey [Pavin] and I were saying they must have thought the top 100 in the world were here not 156 old guys," Calcavecchia said. "Seriously, I think it was the hardest set of pin placements I've seen in years. If you got your tee ball out of position, you're pretty much screwed."
With a field scoring average of slightly less than 77, it was the toughest opening round at a U.S. Senior Open since 2003 at Inverness Club.
"Couple of [the holes] are borderline unfair," Langer said when asked if any were over the top. "[On No. 8] basically you have to hit a 5-wood off the tee that leaves you a 3- or 4-iron into the green, and the green is not designed for that kind of club - and it's very firm. ... It's a great golf course, just a tough set-up."
-- Bill Fields