Floyd Stays With What Works
Overjoyed with another 70 in the U.S. Senior Open, Raymond Floyd said he’d gladly take two more.
Floyd, in search of his first Senior Open championship, took a two-shot lead midway through Friday’s second round of the tournament by carding his second consecutive one-under-par 70 for a 36-hole score of 140.
“In a minute,” Floyd quickly replied when asked if he would be satisfied to repeat today and Sunday what he accomplished Thursday and Friday.
“You bet I’m pleased,” he said. “I hit a lot of fairways today, I hit a lot of solid shots. I might have even played better today than I played yesterday.”
Floyd’s first-round performance over the 6,906-yard, par-71 Riviera course was the only under-par score of the day, and it gave him a one-shot lead over five golfers.
Two of those five--Bruce Summerhays and club pro Roy Vucinich--shot par 71 for the second day in a row Friday, giving them 142 totals.
Summerhays would have fared even better had he not bogeyed the final three holes, but he wasn’t dismayed. “Even par after two rounds on this golf course is great. I’m not going to dwell on it.”
The scores midway through the second round were a bit lower than Thursday, when the average for the 155 competitors was 78.903--the highest first-round average in the history of senior golf.
Hale Irwin, who had a first-round 77, came back with the low round of the tournament, a three-under 68 that left him at three over after two rounds. Jack Nicklaus had a 72, putting him a shot behind Irwin at 146.
The field was to be cut to the low 60 and ties along with anyone within 10 shots of the lead at the conclusion of Friday’s round.
Dave Stockton, who played in the same threesome with Floyd, had a second-round 70 for a 36-hole total of 143. It was only the third below-par round of the tournament, with the other two belonging to Floyd.
Gibby Gilbert shot his second consecutive 72 to put him at 144. Gil Morgan, one of the pre-tournament favorites, was next at 145 after also shooting a 72 on Friday.
Arnold Palmer, who won the second U.S. Senior Open in 1981, carded a 76 on Friday to put him at 154--12 over par and in jeopardy of missing the cut.
Among the late starters were Hugh Baiocchi, Bob Murphy and Jay Sigel, all of whom had 71s in the first round.
Morgan, second on the earnings list, has won two of the three previous senior majors and is trying to become the second senior to win three majors in a year. Nicklaus, now 58, accomplished the feat in 1991.
Floyd, 55, who ranks 16th on the senior tour earnings list with $471,692, shot a 70 in the first round thanks mainly to birdies on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
He also birdied the 15th and 16th holes Friday, and would have repeated his trifecta had he not missed a five-foot putt for birdie on 17.
“Raymond’s had phenomenal finishes coming in both days,” Stockton said.
“Fortunately, I’ve played pretty close to my game plan,” said Floyd, who is shooting for his first tournament victory since the 1996 Ford Senior Players Championship. “I’m very comfortable, I’ve been hitting the ball solid. You have to put your ball on the green.”
Floyd said he could have scored even better in the first two rounds, but didn’t because of his putting. However, he stressed he was quite pleased with what has happened so far.
“We all must remember that par is a fantastic score on each and every hole in a U.S. Open,” Floyd said.