Jerry Kelly’s renowned body language was in sync with the twists and turns of the East Course at the Broadmoor, or so it seemed by how he separated himself slightly from the field in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open on Thursday.
Kelly, 51, posted a four-under par 66 on a hot, windy day in Colorado Springs, Colo., to open a two-stroke lead over Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kevin Sutherland, Rocco Mediate, Deane Pappas of South Africa.
The Broadmoor is located at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, contributing to the difficulty of the course by the havoc it creates on the greens. Putts are said to break away from the mountain, except when they don’t, and the contours shrink the size of the targets.
“Even though these greens are big greens, they’re really small greens,” Colorado native Hale Irwin said, “There’s only so many hole locations they can have because there’s enough slope, particularly coming off Cheyenne Mountain. The contours that are in the greens, they’re confounding.”
Yet Kelly played a near-flawless round, a three-putt bogey at the 18th hole the only blemish on his card.
“You didn’t know when the wind was going to come up and blow you away,” Kelly said. “It definitely got the 35-mile-an-hour gusts that they were calling for and it swirled around. The front side was easier than I thought today. And then I knew once we turned to the back side, OK, no more par fives, it’s time to play. I got in there close a few times, missed one of them, but held on a few holes, until that lost one. I did not like that one.”
Defending champion Kenny Perry, twice a winner of the Senior Open, shot a one-over par 71. Bernhard Langer, the 2010 winner of the Senior Open, opened with a two-over par 72 whiling hitting only 10 greens in regulation.
Maybe the most impressive round of the day when age is factored in was the even-par 70 posted by Jay Haas, who is 64.