Back 9: Olin Browne Scorches InvernessWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Olin Browne was only one-under par through his first 10 holes on Thursday, but then he got it going and torched the next eight holes at six-under par which included two eagles. The last time the U. S. Senior Open was held at Inverness in 2003, the winner, Bruce Lietzke, was seven-under par for the whole week.
Playing the course backwards, Browne started on hole 10 and had to play the much harder back nine first. He got off to a strong start with birdies at holes 11 and 12, but a poor drive resulted in a bogey at the tough 16th that left him at one-under par for his first nine holes. Then the fireworks began. He birdied the par-3 third hole, made eagle on the par-5 fourth and slam dunked a 97-yard approach shot to hole eight, the only other par-5 on Inverness, for his second eagle of the day. A score of six-under par in six holes on his second nine got him to seven-under par for the day and gives him a two-shot lead over Mark O’Meara and Michael Allen going into tomorrow’s second round.
“Golf in general is about patience, especially a USGA Championship,” Browne said. “So there’s a lot to be thankful for today. I’m really pleased with the way I’ve played, but there’s a lot to be done yet.”
He feels that one of the keys of his game is long iron play and the course set up well for him. Inverness’ brutal par-4’s demand accurate long iron play to smallish, undulating greens.