Despite being a long shot, Miguel Angel Jimenez has one of the largest followings at the U.S. Senior Open.
The Spaniard was among several players tied for 27th place after two rounds at Del Paso Country Club, but that didn’t seem to matter to fans.
After finishing the second round Friday, Jimenez returned to the course at 3 p.m. to hit balls at the driving range. As he was warming up, the four-time Ryder Cup player took photos with a fan who gave him a bottle of wine. Jimenez wore sunglasses and his trademark hair in a bun, and he had a cigar in his mouth.
Numerous spectators watched Jimenez at the driving range, and he smiled and waved to them. A fan asked him to pose for a picture during his session, and he obliged.
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“Look at his hair. Look at his cigar. He just has an aura about him,” said Carol Erickson, an enamored fan who watched Jimenez practice.
Good weather, good vibes
There were noticeably more fans for the third round, with the temperature 10 degrees cooler and the sky overcast in the morning.
The nice weather gave way to lively chatter among spectators.
More fans sat in the grandstands than the previous two days. People had to stand along the railings of the grandstands to get a good view of the course Saturday.
Fans crowded around the holes instead of standing in the shade.
Jim Bowman, a past Del Paso president, said he saw shuttles more packed than the previous two days.
“I (have) to believe that you got more people today because of the beautiful weather and a great leaderboard,” Bowman said.
Cauley-Stein visits Del Paso
Kings first-round draft pick Willie Cauley-Stein appeared at the tournament Saturday. After answering a reporter’s questions at the media center, he went on the course to catch some of the action.
Cauley-Stein said he wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular.
“If my man Tiger (Woods) was in it, that’s who I would be rooting for,” he said. “If not, I don’t care.”
Worth the extra price of admission
By paying $30 more for a ticket, fans had access to the Trophy Club, a large tent between the 16th and 17th holes that serves as a restaurant.
It’s a nice place to watch the 17th hole, where Sacramentan Kevin Sutherland said he got an amazing reception.
Craig Walrath of Shingle Springs said the extra $30 was worth it.
“It’s great; you get food and a drink,” he said. “The Bloody Mary was fantastic.”