Back 9: USGA Senior Open: Olin Browne Clings to LeadWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Olin Browne scorched Inverness July 28 for a seven-under par 64. He only managed a respectable 69 in the second round today but is still clinging to a two-shot lead, although all of the afternoon groups have not yet finished play.
Heavy rains passed through the Toledo area just as the sun rose on July 29 causing a two hour and 45 minute delay to tee times. The course played a little longer and the greens were much more receptive to the long irons and hybrids necessary to reach the long par-4 holes at Inverness.
“The course is playing totally different today,” Browne said. “The pins were much tighter to the corners and edges of the greens. The course held up well with all the rain earlier today, the fairways were softer but did not hold a lot of water. I thought the course was set up significantly more difficult today.”
When asked what was his single coolest shot of the day, he referred to his second shot into hole 16.
“It’s a tough hole,” Browne said. “They moved the tee up today, and it’s an even better tee shot. Now the water is in play on the right and the rough is in play on the left. You really have to force yourself to squeeze your drive in there. I had a perfect number and hit a beautifully cut 4?iron. It’s a semi?blind green, but I executed that shot as well as I could have hoped. I also hit a really nice six iron from 185 on number 17, which got me back under par for the day. So those two shots were the best of the day for me.”
Browne had three wins on the PGA Tour and four wins on the Nationwide Tour. His best finish in a major was a tie for fifth at the 1997 U. S. Open. So this is pretty heady stuff for the veteran. He has always been known as an excellent ball striker and long iron player. Who knows, maybe this is his week to get it done and take home a USGA trophy.