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PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks in thick of it at Senior Open

By Taylor Mitchell
Nov. 7, 2012 at 5:07 a.m.

Mark Brooks hits out of a bunker during Wednesday's opening round to the Texas Senior Open at Victoria Country Club. Brooks, who won the PGA Championship in 1996, shot an opening round 1-under 71.

Most of the golfers on the course at the Texas Senior Open didn't have a caddy. In fact, some of the golfers were sharing carts during the competitive event Wednesday.

However, there was at least one golfer with a caddy.

The 1996 PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks had a caddy riding alongside him. However, rather than give advice on shots and which club to use when, his caddy read a book and soaked in the near-perfect weather.

Brooks, the only golfer to have won a major championship on the PGA Tour in attendance, was riding along the 18 holes at the Victoria Country Club with his wife.

"Normally my daughter caddies for me," Brooks said with a smile. "She didn't do much caddying today. She read her book and enjoyed the beautiful weather."

It truly was a beautiful day Wednesday at the Victoria Country Club.

The temperature wasn't too hot, but not warm enough that golfers weret sweating. The blue sky was crystal clear and the wind was barely noticeable.

However, Brooks didn't have as good of a day as the weather he played in at the 2012 Texas Senior Open.

"I didn't play great for me," Brooks said. "But that's the way it goes sometimes. It's not too bad of shape."

Brooks, a native of Fort Worth, and the winner of seven events on the PGA Tour including the 1996 PGA Championship, shot a 1-under par during round one of the Texas Senior Open. Ron Schroeder ended the first day of action in the lead with a 5-under, 67. Ben Sauls finds himself one stroke behind in second place and John Ross, who first held the lead earlier in the day, is at a 3-under, 69.

Wednesday was Brooks' first time to ever play at the Victoria Country Club and was impressed with how much of a challenge it presented.

"I was learning the course a little bit today," Brooks said. "It's a really good golf course. There are a few tricky tee balls. The fairways aren't that wide. It's actually playing a little soft. If it was drier, it'd play shorter, but much tougher. It's not an easy golf course."

More than 20 years ago, Brooks got involved with course designing and his first major project, the Southern Oaks Golf Club outside Fort Worth, in 1999 was a major success. In his opinion, the Victoria Country Club course is a good one that hasn't had anyone try and do too much to it.

"I think it's a great course, very surprising. Nobody has messed it up," Brooks said. "That happens a lot. A lot of people will come in and put bunkers in the middle of fairways and that's what messes it up."

The course did prove to be tough at the start for Brooks, the only competitor in Victoria to win a majors tournament. After birdying his first hole, Brooks bogeyed the second and sixth holes. However, a birdie at the seventh hole brought him back to even. On the 13th hole he carded a birdie to drop down one stroke, where he'd finish the day.

Despite not turning in a more colorful scorecard, Brooks says he won't come into the second round with a different mindset.

"Unless you play awful," Brooks joked. "It's not as easy to shoot a 5 or 6 under as you think. I was a little rough coming out. I played better on the back nine. I had a few chances and we'll get going tomorrow."

Brooks will start the second round in a four-way tie for seventh and one stroke ahead of a back log of players at par. In order to gain ground on Schroeder's lead, the plan is a simple one.

"Make more putts," Brooks said simply. "Drive it better, hit better iron shots and make more putts."

Many things in golf are easier said than done, though.

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