U.S. Senior Open: Richard Bland earns monumental 2nd major victory in dramatic playoff


Richard Bland earned his second major victory on the Champions Tour, defeating Hiroyuki Fujita for the U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club.

They both made par in the two-hole aggregate playoff, which sent it into a sudden-death playoff. They played 18 twice more before a winner emerged.

In two senior major starts, Bland is now two-of-two in victories. He won the Senior PGA Championship earlier this year in March. Bland becomes the fifth player to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship.

“Your first two senior tournaments to be majors and to come out on top is, I was just hoping going into the PGA that I was good enough to contend,” Bland said.

Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images

“I hadn’t played against these guys. I knew, if I played the way I know I can play, it should be good enough to be able to compete. But, yeah, to be stood here with two majors is, yeah, I’m at a loss for words at the moment now.”

On the fourth playoff hole, Bland kept his ball in the fairway while Fujita went left. The Englishman had a 214-yard approach shot, and he hooked it to wind up in the greenside bunker.

From there, the Cleeks LIV Golf member almost holed his ball out with an incredible bunker shot that landed mere inches from the cup.

Fujita was short of the green and still failed to get up and down from 44 yards out. He almost forced a fifth playoff hole but narrowly missed his par putt.

Bland forced a playoff with his final-round 4-under 66 to get to 13-under in the tournament, while Fujita cooled off with a 1-over 71.

This victory also secures the 51-year-old a spot in the 2024 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

“I know what you guys like to do with U.S. Opens, so just go easy on us olders (laughter). Maybe you can stick a tee up for me,” he said. “It was my first ever tournament in America in at Bethpage in ’09, and I was blown away by it. We’re always kind of like, oh, being from Europe or the UK, our major is The Open, but I was blown away by the U.S. Open.

“I’ll be looking at flights to Oakmont for next year very, very soon.”

Bland became the 12th player to win his U.S. Senior Open debut and is the second golfer from England to take home the trophy.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.





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