Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin and Mark Calcavecchia, all former major winners and all tried to catch Russ Cochran, but the left-hander was the best on Sunday at Walton Heath in the Senior Open Championship.
Cochran has only played in one Open Championship in his 20-plus years on the PGA Tour, and while the composite course at Walton Heath is not a links venue, it is completely different from any course in the U.S.
So staring Sunday tied for the lead with David Frost and Calcavecchia, Cochran decided to emulate the game of another pursuer, Watson.
“I played with him only a few times,,” Cochran said. “But Tom gets his shot, he hits it, goes after it and he plays at a good pace. He tries to pick the right shot, and then goes right after it. Basically today, I kind of had that attitude that I really didn’t care whether I won or lost, but I was confident in my game that if I played well, that I would fare well.”
The plan worked; with two birdies in the first two holes Cochran never looked in the rear-view mirror the rest of the round. Cochran finished Sunday winning by two shots over Calcavecchia.
“I seemed like I was making a lot of birdies on the front side,” Cochran said. “I didn’t really care what anybody else was doing. I felt like I was in a good groove.”
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.