Edmond — Monday was the first day for official practice rounds of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National. Competition kicks off Thursday for 156 competitors who are age 50 and older, with the final round slated for Sunday.
And, practice it was as Champions Tour players took notes on every nook and cranny on the course, from the speed and slope of the greens to even the speed of the fairway grass.
“Most of the time (in practice rounds) we use it to get to know the course, but since I’m so familiar with it, I was mainly looking at lines and how the ball rolls farther in the fairway with the fairway’s cut lower,” said Bob Tway, who resides at Oak Tree in Edmond.
The practice round was profitable for Tway, who drilled his tee shot dead-center on the 9th fairway. He cleared the front end of the hill, but had just a few yards to spare before toppling the crest and dropping into a deep swale due to the swifter fairways.
He then hit an easy wedge 16 feet directly behind the pin before missing his birdie putt left.
“A year ago, the greens here were struggling,” Tway noted. “They are hard but have always been hard. But now, I think they are fair and the course looks great. I think Oak Tree is going to put on a good show.”
Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion from Germany, was very strict in marking notes in his yardage book.
“I don’t ever not (keep a yardage book),” he said. “I have done it my whole life.
“It’s a miracle to me how the old guys played by eyesight. Looks ... like a 5-iron. I can’t do that,” he said, while squinting with a tilt to his head.