Notes: Mix-up helps Horrobin land local sponsor - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:32 pm
U.S. Senior Open
Notes: Mix-up helps Horrobin land local sponsor

Peter Horrobin's week in Omaha, although he missed the cut, has long-term benefits for the Jamaican-born pro from south Florida. SilverStone Group will sponsor him for the next year.

“It's all up to me now,'' said Horrobin, who used savings to pay for his Senior Open expenses. “As soon as I get back home, I'll get a schedule put together to send them. I'm so thankful.”

John H. Nelson of SilverStone Group said on Thursday, Horrobin and his caddie came to SilverStone's hospitality patio along the 18th hole after their round thinking that was the players' dining area. The pair was welcomed in, and by the end of the day, Horrobin agreed to wear the company's shirts the rest of the week.

Horrobin shot an 80, after a 70 on Thursday, to miss the cut. Because his plane ticket is for Monday, he returned to the tournament on the weekend and was a guest of SilverStone.

Nelson said he and others watched on YouTube portions of Horrobin's press conference Tuesday. “You can't help but get emotional seeing it,'' he said.

SilverStone also sponsors John Hurley of O'Neill, Neb., on the Web.com Tour and Roberto Castro on the PGA Tour.

Not enough

Two days before the tournament, Rocco Mediate said he would take an 8-under-par aggregate score and happily sit in the clubhouse to see if it held up.

Mediate finished Sunday at 7 under.

“I still lost,'' he said.

That's because Kenny Perry played the final 36 holes in 13-under par to run away to a five-stroke win.

“He gets on these crazy runs,'' Mediate said. “He did it on the regular tour, and now he's doing it here. It's like, 'Who are you?' It's amazing. He doesn't back off.''

Going short

Corey Pavin is used to a lifetime of wisecracks about being one of the shorter hitters in pro golf. But he couldn't let NBC analyst Johnny Miller get away with it.

“I gave him a little grief this morning,'' Pavin said. “He said yesterday I hit it 240. I said, 'C'mon, Johnny, I hit it at least 245.'

“I just have to work my way around the golf course the best way I can and hopefully make some putts.''

The putts fell for Pavin on Sunday. He tied the record for most consecutive birdies with five by racing from 3 under to 8 under from No. 7 through No. 11.

“I needed to birdie 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, apparently,'' said Pavin, who tied for third. “Kenny (Perry) is playing fantastic.''

Perry in '14 U.S. Open

Perry's victory was worth $500,000 in prize money — and a spot in next year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 as the previous year's Senior Open champion. He also is exempt into the 2014 Players Championship on the PGA Tour after his win at the Senior Players Championship two weeks ago.

Perry is the third player to win the Senior Open and Senior Players in the same year, after Gary Player (1987) and Orville Moody (1989), and the first to win back-to-back senior majors since Bernhard Langer in 2010 with the Senior British Open and U.S. Senior Open.

His comeback of 10 strokes in the last 36 holes was a Senior Open record, bettering seven by Larry Laoretti in 1992 and Fred Funk in 2009, and his 127 over the last 36 holes bettered the 130 by Hale Irwin in 2000.

Low amateur

Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Ga., was the low amateur for the second straight year at the Senior Open. He tied for 56th in Omaha after a tie for 53rd at Indianwood in Michigan last year and is now exempt for the USGA's Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur.

A physician, Hanzel couldn't stay for the awards ceremony because he couldn't change his flight home and he had a full appointment schedule on Monday. He also is diabetic and said he had to replenish his blood sugar during Sunday's round with Gatorade.

'Elk' rates Omaha bar

Omaha's Homy Inn lands in the middle of Steve Elkington's ratings system for dive bars. He tries to find one at every tournament.

“For instance, if there's a rat, that's worth 10,'' Elk said. “The Homy's pretty tough. For atmosphere, I give it a 10. For character, a 10; uniqueness, a 10; for wait staff, a 10. Overall, a 5, maybe 5½.”

He was at the midtown establishment several nights prior to the tournament, but said he bypassed the bar's specialty of champagne on tap in pitchers.

Elkington shot 65 Sunday, a score bettered only by Perry. He was at 5 under for the tournament until bogeying the 18th, on which he made a double bogey Saturday after his tee ball rolled some 60 yards backward after hitting the fairway.

Crowd favorite

Taiwan's Chien Soon Lu wasn't exactly a favorite coming into the tournament, but ended up tied for sixth.

However, even without taking the championship, Lu was clearly a crowd favorite throughout the final round.

While the red-hot Perry was tearing through the front nine on his way to the title, Lu was battling a slightly off round that had him at 1 over going into the back nine.

He started to pick up steam quickly, getting back to 4 under by the 14th hole.

The record-breaking Omaha crowd took notice and answered Lu's efforts with a resounding cheer. All you could hear while he was advancing to the 15th hole was a drawn-out “Luuuuuuuuuu.”

Lu's face was beaming as he acknowledged the supportive crowd around him up to the tee box. He carried his momentum into a great shot down the 15th fairway, where, of course, he was met with even louder versions of the low-pitched acclaim.

His 65 in the third round and 68 in the fourth helped secure his 4 under, sixth-place finish. It was his third top-10 finish of the year. It also continues the remarkable success he's had on the Champions Tour after not touching a golf course from 2001 to 2008 because of a back injury.

Maybe it was his story, maybe it was his battle back from a second-round 75, or maybe it was just his great name, but without a doubt, Lu was cherished by the crowds at Omaha.

“Second day, tough. Hit the 7 in the rough. Oh, terrible,” the succinct Lu said. “But very happy in the tournament. Thank you.”

Jake's replacement

Brian Henninger, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who made the cut at the Senior Open, will replace Peter Jacobsen as the celebrity pro at Monday's fundraising event at Indian Creek for Marian High School. Jacobsen withdrew from the Senior Open during Thursday's first round with a heat-related illness.

Scattering shot

Jeff Freeman had them diving for cover in the Cox Communications suite behind the 13th green. Playing with Tom Watson, Freeman airmailed a fairway bunker shot into the suite.

After taking a free drop, Freeman made a bogey.

Half-off sale Monday

All U.S. Senior Open apparel, headwear and accessories will be available to the public at 50 percent off in the merchandise tent at Omaha Country Club from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or while supplies last. Parking is located at the tournament's main entrance on 72nd Street south of State Street.

Contact the writer: Stu Pospisil

stu.pospisil@owh.com    |   402-444-1041    |  

Stu Pospisil has been The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports since 1990 and for golf since 1988. He primarily covers football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter and track and field in the spring.

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