Following Fran Quinn at the U.S. Senior Open - MASSGOLF

Following Fran Quinn Around the Quiet Corner At The U.S. Senior Open in Newport

By Stephen Hanjack

NEWPORT, Rhode Island – Make no mistake, the 44th U.S. Senior Open has a major presence about it. Newport Country Club’s picture-perfect setting is the canvas for the 1,001st USGA Championship ever conducted.

The grand buildout of bleachers, luxury seating, and merchandise tents all add to the major feel at the hallowed grounds of Newport. Sun-soaked patrons will surely enjoy the lavish treatment, and who knows, perhaps the roars around the property this weekend will echo for years to come.

But this is not what Newport Country Club is normally like. Set along the Atlantic Ocean, the golf course is usually an escape from the hustle and bustle. Often time, the only noise one can hear is the stiff ocean breeze whistling at golf shots.

So while Fran Quinn (Holden, MA) surely enjoyed the noise he was creating with his blistering hot start, it was a trip around the quiet corner of the property that felt most proper, and most Newport.


Newport Country Club hosted the 1st ever USGA Championship, and is now hosting the 1,001st this week. (Photo: Matt Hart)

It was only a few minutes, but it must have felt like an eternity, as Quinn waited to hit his tee shot on 1 (his 10thhole of the day).  The long, yet reachable par-5 plays straight downwind, which naturally causes a backup on the tee.

Coming off a three-putt bogey on the fuzzy 18th green (likely a precaution with the prevailing wind and exposed green), Quinn had fallen back to 3-under par. But with a calm presence and stoic look on his face, passersby would never know if Quinn had made bogey, par or even birdie on the last.

When the wait was up, a controlled yet powerful swing sent his ball downwind, well past those of his playing partners. Off the group marched, down the hill, away from the massive crowds, and onto the one parcel of land where players are by their lonesome.

Never the “look at me” type, one would have to assume this little nook in the northern-most piece of the property was a comforting oasis for a man on a mission.

With just a handful of fans within 30 yards of the green, Quinn’s textbook 4 drew a cheer from the Massachusetts supporters along the ropes and quickly erased the bogey on 18.

On hole no. 2, a short, driveable par-4, Quinn was the only one in his group willing to blast driver. After just missing the green left, he was presented with a tricky pitch shot, which he executed wonderfully, setting up a birdie look. The hard-breaking putt narrowly missed, but with a tricky hole location, a four is a fine score.

Unphased by the stars of the game around him, Quinn quickly marched to the next tee and hit a towering draw that pierced into a hurting wind.

With no fans within 300 yards of the players, and no one seemingly saying a thing, it was the body language that did the talking. Quinn wasn’t interested in seeing Jim Furyk’s perfect wedge nearly spin into the hole behind him, or Justin Leonard’s eagle attempt trumble up the hill.

These were his last moments of solitude, and he was soaking it in.

Again, outdriving the group, Quinn and company trekked their way back towards the crowds. As he waited for his turn to approach the green on 3, Quinn was again unphased by the legends around him.

Sure, ‘legend’ might be a stretch in describing Robert Karlsson, but his 6 foot 5 inch presence is simply intimidating. And if that’s not enough, the big Fijian, Vijay Singh was there pounding driver alongside Karlsson.

After the two titans moved along, Quinn again hit a wind-piercing shot to the proper side of the green, setting up a stress-free par on the 451-yard hole that offered up only a pair of birdies on the day.

Back amongst the crowds and towering clubhouse, Quinn would go on to make 4 on every hole the rest of the way. But you know what they say, ‘four is always a good score at a U.S. Open.’ Sure there were a few blemishes, but at 2-under par and T22, Fran Quinn is squarely in contention at the 44th U.S. Senior Open.

Fran Quinn will begin his second round on Friday at 7:42 a.m. off of hole 1. Or as we like to call it, the Quiet Corner.

Fran Quinn (left) shot an opening round 68 (-2) at the 2024 U.S. Senior Open (Photo: USGA)

Other Massachusetts Story Lines:

  • Jeff Martin, Head Golf Professional Wollaton GC, fired an even par 70 (T43)
  • Jason Caron, Hyannis native, shot 72 (T84)
  • Rob Labritz, 2021 Massachusetts Open Champion shot 71 (T65)

Banner Photo Credit: Matt Hart