By Chris Dazen
Columbus, OH — Scioto Country Club was already considered a pretty challenging course for the U.S. Senior Open Championship, which is evidenced in having three different club house leaders after each round.
Saturday’s third round however, provided a new test that practically wiped any subpar scores off the leader board; with wind gusts up to at least 20 mph.
“If you shot under par today, you had a heck of a round,” Billy Mayfair said. “It was blowing out there.”
Mayfair could not have been any more correct, as only four golfers finished under par for the round including clubhouse leader Miguel Angel Jimenez. The other three to shoot under -par in round three were David Frost, Bernhard Langer and Scott Dunlap.
Additionally, Jimenez and Gene Sauers are the lone golfers with under par scores after three rounds of play at the U.S. Senior Open.
While the course remained its difficult self, a lot of the golfers struggled with the weather conditions, including strong wind gust midway through the round causing much of the field to give back.
“Seemed like to us, either the wind was right in our face or right straight down,” said Mayfair. “There was no side breezes or anything like that. So it definitely played hard.”
If you want to know how tough the day was, second round leader Joey Sindelar began his round at -5 and he birdied the first hole. Sindelar’s momentum stalled soon after though, and by the end of the round he finished with a 7-over-par 77, good for a tied for sixth place at +2.
“The wind complicates everything because then it’s harder to hit the fairways,” he said. “Then you have to protect, even if you’re in the fairway, protect a little more going into the greens because you don’t want to short-side.”
Practically every golfer out there today agreed, in one way or the other, the wind was easily the biggest contributor to such a difficult round for many of the golfers.
The course and the greens were playing a bit softer for the first two rounds, but anytime you add in a touch of mother nature, it becomes more of a challenge to score low.
“The heat, the wind, the rain on the last hole. It was a brutal day,” said Gene Sauers.
The key to playing well was trying to find ways to score with this additional factor.
“It just made pulling the right club very difficult, and the course is already hard enough as it is,” Joe Durant said. “So as you can see by the scores, it was tough on all of us.”
Jimenez played a smart round, picking and choosing his shots wisely, while also making up strokes with his up and down game.
“I’m sure people are going to make bogeys because the golf course is tough. With these gusting winds, it’s going to happen,” said Jimenez. “It’s going to be difficult to make birdies. Patience, that was the key today.”
Jimenez finished his day with four birdies to three bogeys. Even putting for some golfers was a challenge because of the wind.
“With the speed of the greens, I think, considering the weather situation we got, I think they’re just right there where you’ve got to allow for windage uphill,” Loren Roberts said. “If you’ve got wind in your face on an uphill putt, you’re going to have to hit it a little harder.”
As the final round of the U.S. Senior Open concludes tomorrow, the golfers can expect another difficult day with more challenging pin positions from the championship caliber golf course. There is the potential for bad weather and as a result, groups will go off in pairs of three, just like the third round.
If weather does play a contributing factor again, the golfers will be expecting more or less the same conditions as they saw today and if they do not that would be quite alright too though it would create a different set of challenges.
“I’m sure the golf course might be a little bit different tomorrow than it was today,” said Mayfair.