COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) Although John Smoltz may have felt very alone on the windswept, sun-baked Broadmoor course, he was not.
The Pitching Hall of Famer spent Day 1 at the US Senior Open in nearly the same position as the rest of the field – ripped out of ankle-high rough and then positioned in games on tricky mountain grass that made players shake their heads for players.
"I'm just being honest," Smoltz said after a lap of 15- over 85, which tied him tied for 150th place. "I do not have enough game yet for this course."
He was not alone.
The ultimate test for seniors on Thursday brought only eight below-average levels. and not a single player ̵
Kelly gave him a run.
After saving Par from the rough at the 559-yard, Par- 4. 17. – He held his right elbow after he dug the approach – Kelly was a 4-foot putt away from bogey-free. But when he slid a fraction to the right in the cup, his flawless day was history.
Kelly still shot 4 under 66, which was good enough to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kevin Sutherland and Deane Pappas by two strokes and Rocco Mediate.
"I was pretty disappointed with this three-putt on the last hole," Kelly said. "But I had a lot today, I played very well, but it also gave me a few shots."
Mediate found himself at the US Open ten years after his epic 19-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods Torrey Pines back in the championship again. Whether it's the regular Open or the Senior, Mediate insists that the tough USGA setups suit him, even though he missed the last two years in this event.
"It looks like a US Open golf course," Mediate said of the Broadmoor. "It's a US Open golf course, it'll quickly show you it's when you hit it in the wrong place, that's what I love most about the set-up."
Defending champion Kenny Perry, whose 71st lurking just a birdie.
"Here, the greens, they're making you nervous," Perry said. His title last year gave him entry to the US Open earlier this month. "I feel like I'm back in Shinnecock."
The USGA took its usual flogging for course construction at Shinnecock Hills earlier this month, and although the headlights are not nearly as bright here, the record high forecast for this week (in the 90s) and gusts over 30 miles The tournament organizers themselves have been "on the go" every hour when it comes to consolidating the Broadmoor, according to the USGA course notes.
The conquest of this course brings a fair share of local knowledge. Virtually every putt – even those that seem to be pointing upwards – breaks away from Will Rogers Shrine, who sits enthroned above the course on Cheyenne Mountain.
"You have to meet them a few times to know what you're doing." Said Lee Janzen, who shot 69.
Janzen and Mediate moved to Colorado Springs last month to play a few practice sessions and gain some valuable local knowledge.
Smoltz, whose daily job is broadcasting baseball games for Fox, went to Broadmoor for the first time this week. He hired a local caddy, Colin Prater, who was a Division II All-American in Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Almost immediately, however, the pitcher-turned golfer received a crash course in distinction between random rounds of golf and sport in its most severe manner.
"I never expected to get so many bad lies," he said. "I could not help it and I had a lot of hard punches that I did not practice and that I'm not used to beating."
During the round, Smoltz had to stop a few times, take off his shoes, and stick his toes raw and aching. Lesson: Do not break new golf shoes at the US Open.
"It was fun to have him out here," said Bob Ford, who was three with Smoltz. "But I did not expect him to break 80. I know how good he is, but that's just another world, it's not his world."
Smoltz's first round through this world is going down end the round on Friday.
Kelly – he put on a good spot towards the weekend.
"I hit three bad shots and I shot 85," Smoltz said. "It only says from an amateur point of view and for people who are sitting at home, how great these players are."