Lance Ten Broeck had the most success in two decades on the PGA Tour when the big boys were occupied elsewhere. He finished second in Chattanooga in 1991, a tournament played opposite the British Open. He won at Magnolia, Miss., in 1984, a tournament played opposite the Masters.
"The Magnolia was unofficial when I won it," he said. "You won't find a win for me in the PGA Tour record book."
Ten Broeck was without playing status in 1999 when he approached Jesper Parnevik and asked for a chance to be his caddie.
"Jesper won right away at Greensboro, so I had a job," Ten Broeck said. "I've enjoyed being out there, watching all these young guys play great golf."
Ten Broeck caddied for a decade for Parnevik. He spent 1 1/2 years with Robert Allenby and also carried for Fredrik Jacobson on occasion.
"All Swedes," he said. "Lumpy's my first non-Swede ... although he has some Swedish blood in him, I think."
Lumpy is Tim Herron, of course, and he hired Ten Broeck as his caddie for this season. Simultaneously, Ten Broeck has gained an interest in resuming his career as a senior player.
"I would go months without playing after I started caddying in 1999," he said. "My swing was so bad that I wasn't much interested. Then, two years ago, I got onto something."
What was the discovery? "I figured out how to compensate for the compensations in my swing," Ten Broeck said.
Ten Broeck qualified seven times for the U.S. Open, with a best finish of T-31 in 1991. Three weeks ago, he was in his first Senior Open, again as a qualifier. He started 66-68 at Indianwood Country Club, near Detroit, and was the 36-hole leader by one stroke.
"I was pretty comfortable," Ten Broeck said. "I wasn't putting that well ... average at best. I was paired with Tom Kite on Saturday and we didn't play that well."
Ten Broeck wound up tied for ninth and collected $65,046. That rated No. 2 to Lance's check for $75,600 at Chattanooga 21 years ago as the highest for his playing career.
Ten Broeck was without a caddie obligation this week. He shot a 66 at Victory Links on Tuesday to qualify for this week's 3M Championship. That allowed him across the street to TPC Twin Cities, where the annual festival of birdies started Friday.
There were four leaders at 7 under; Ten Broeck was an indifferent 1 under and in a nine-way tie for 41st place.
There was an inch of rain dropped on the Blaine track overnight, and conditions were generous again on Saturday. Ten Broeck rolled in a few putts, needed 25 total, and shot a 7-under 65.
The 8-under total of 136 put Ten Broeck in a tie for seventh and created the hope of a top-10 finish.
"If I can do that, it could get me into the next tournament without going through the qualifier," he said.
The Champions Tour resumes in two weeks in Endicott, N.Y. Ten Broeck will be there -- either trying to qualify, or being guaranteed a place in the field through a strong finish here. Making the field in New York would set up the first conflict of 2012 with Herron's schedule.
Herron is playing in the PGA Tour event in Greensboro, N.C., that week. Obviously, Lumpy has given Ten Broeck his blessing to continue this late-breaking pursuit of success on the Champions Tour -- and will find another caddie if he needs one.
Ten Broeck is 56. He's more dabbling in this comeback as a player than diving in headfirst.
"I have a new putter this week, a YES putter, but beyond that, I'm playing my same old clubs," he said. "My driver is 5 years old, and I have an Orlimar 3-wood that has to be 20 years old. I've looked around, but I've never found anything better.
"You need money and some playing status to be fitted for this high-tech stuff, with new clubs and new shafts all the time. I don't have those things. I'm just happy that I'm playing better as I'm getting older."
That has a chance to continue for Lance Ten Broeck, as long he continues to compensate for his compensations.
Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. firstname.lastname@example.org