Even after 30 years of professional golf, Michael Allen says he can go to about any course without being recognized.
Going incognito at Omaha Country Club from now on, though, will be much more difficult for the 54-year-old from San Mateo, Calif.
At the U.S. Senior Open, he tied for the lead after the first day; he broke the course record with a 63 on the second day to go up by five shots; and he held the lead through three rounds though fighting a pinched nerve in his neck.
Though Allen fell to fifth place Sunday with a final-round 72, his strong play for the week and ever-ready smile made an impression in Omaha, as the city did with him.
“This place is great,” he said. “The crowds were fantastic. You’ve got to love playing in front of this many people.”
Allen just wishes he had played better.
Playing in the final group with champion Kenny Perry, Allen bogeyed holes 3 and 4, which allowed Perry to take his first lead. Allen birdied Nos. 6 and 8 to get back to 8 under, then saved a miracle par on No. 9. But Perry birdied Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 to start pulling away.
Allen, with four previous Champions Tour wins, said he wasn’t nervous entering the round.
“But I didn’t quite hit the shots I was looking for,” he said. “I kind of hung in there after a terrible start. But Kenny was playing so well that it was really hard to compete with him. He never made a mistake.”
Allen’s day essentially ended on No. 13 when he tried to drive the green on the short par 4, but fanned it out of bounds and made double bogey.
From there, the conversation between the two sometimes strayed from golf.
“Kenny’s got a new dragster he’s going to get next week,” Allen said. “That was kind of it at that point. I was certainly no competition anymore. About the 13th hole, it was very depressing.”
Allen said his sore neck wasn’t much of a problem Sunday, but that he will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine whether go to Royal Birkdale in two weeks for Senior British Open.