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HomeGolfChampions Tour (CHAMP)CHAMP News: LIV’s Richard Bland shoots 63 to win Senior PGA Championship

CHAMP News: LIV’s Richard Bland shoots 63 to win Senior PGA Championship

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Englishman Richard Bland eagled the 15th hole on his way to an 8-under-par 63 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, polishing off a major championship victory in his first senior start on Sunday in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Bland, a 51-year-old playing for LIV Golf, led after each of the first two rounds at Harbor Shores Resort but fell behind Australian Greg Chalmers and South Africa’s Ernie Els after a Saturday 74.

He rocketed up the leaderboard Sunday with eight birdies and a bogey over his first 12 holes. After one more setback with a three-putt bogey at the par-3 13th hole, he played the par-5 15th perfectly to make eagle and jump to 17 under for the tournament, which is where he’d finish.

Australia’s Richard Green made two eagles on his back nine to shoot 65 and take second place at 14-under 270. Chalmers was neck and neck with Bland but bogeyed each of the final three holes and settled for third at 13 under after a 68.

Bland had not played a 50-and-older event of any kind before this week. He said Thursday that he’d been invited to the Senior PGA Championship last year but had to turn it down because it conflicted with a LIV event.

He got the call again this year and made the most of his week in Michigan.

“They might have my ugly mug around for a few more tournaments now,” Bland joked.

Bland followed his bogey at No. 13 with a crucial par save at No. 14 that kept him at 15 under. Then, from the 15th fairway, he hit was he described as “the best 4-iron in my life” to set up the go-ahead eagle putt.

“I think I had about 215 (yards),” Bland said. “I thought about hitting 5, but 5 would have to go on the wind, and myself and my caddie, James, we were kind of discussing both and he just kind of said, ‘Look, it’s what shot you see right now.’ I just kind of thought the 4 would be a little bit more in control, and, yeah, it was the right decision.”

Chalmers, who turned 50 in October, was also vying for the first PGA Tour Champions victory of his career. He made three birdies on each nine before his three-bogey finish.

Chalmers got to see Bland up-close as the Englishman saved par on his last three holes.

“With that combination of a three-putt for Richard on 13, the par-3, and then me making a 40-footer for birdie on 14, I thought from that point — at that moment I thought, ‘This is going to be really interesting,'” Chalmers said.

“But to Richard’s credit, he iced in about a 10-footer for par (at No. 14), stepped up on the next hole, hit two beautiful shots on the par-5 to 6 feet above the hole and made it for eagle. Then the second shot I thought he hit on 16 was world class. To be able to be in that right rough there and turn it into that pin, he won this golf tournament. He played beautiful golf today. He played the best golf and absolutely deserves the trophy.”

Bland, who will return to the LIV circuit in June at an event in Houston, said he hopes this means there is more winning in his future.

“You know, there are a lot of great players out here, so coming into this week I was hoping that I had a good enough game to compete, and I’m glad that I’ve shown that obviously to myself for my own confidence going forward,” he said. “So, yeah, hopefully there is more to come.”

–Field Level Media

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