After one round, Great Bend’s Steve Gotsche finds himself far removed from the leader board in his first Senior PGA Tour experience at the 34th Annual U.S. Senior Open Championship at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club.
Six players were locked in a tie for first place on Thursday after shooting a 3-under on the par-70 course. Despite shooting a 5-over 75, putting him in a tie for 97th place in the 156-player field, Gotsche knows as well as anyone that he can move up with a good second round today.
“You’ve just got to get it in the fairway or you’re going to fight the rough all day,” Gotsche said in a phone interview late Thursday night from Omaha. “There was a problem getting it in the fairway, which I failed to do much. I was just looking at my stats here.
“Normally it’s not a strength of mine, I don’t think, as far as hitting the fairway here lately, anyway. I’ve got to get it in the fairway to have a chance to make some birdies.”
A local golf pro at The Club at StoneRidge, the former University of Nebraska golfer, an all-conference performer in the now-defunct Big Eight Conference, had a nice-sized following.
“It was a blast,” said Gotsche, an on-again, off-again PGA Tour player, who played in nine U.S. Opens on the younger circuit after earning his Tour card through qualifying school in 1994. “We had a pretty good crowd from Great Bend and the crowd overall was huge, I thought, for a Thursday at a senior event.
“It’s always fun to play in front of a big crowd. Hopefully, I can get it going (today) and get them riled up a little bit.”
Is he taking a different approach after having played 18 holes?
“We’re probably going to stick pretty close to the same deal that we did (on Thursday), as far as hitting drivers on certain holes. I’m not hitting a panic button yet. I’m just a few shots away from a pretty good round. I’ve just got to get it in the fairway.”