U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Round 4: Notable and Quotable
July 2, 2017 | PEABODY, Mass.
By Michael Trostel and David Chmiel, USGA
Runner-up Kirk Triplett finished the championship with a score of 14-under 266, which is the lowest score by a non-winner in U.S. Senior Open history.
Triplett, on the positives he will take away from this week: “I’m not going to say I played great golf, but I scored really well. I had a tremendous short game. Made a bunch of putts. Hit some incredibly difficult chips and pitches and made some pars from some places I had no business making pars from. That should give me some confidence going forward.”
Triplett played the 341-yard, par-4 fourth at 4 under (eagle-birdie-par-birdie) for the week. No other competitor played it better than 2 under.
Kenny Perry’s total of 264 sets a 72-hole scoring record in the U.S. Senior Open, bettering the 267 by Hale Irwin at Saucon Valley Country Club in 2000 and Perry in 2013 at Omaha (Neb) Country Club.
Perry is the sixth multiple champion of the U.S. Senior Open. He also won the 2013 championship at Omaha. Perry joins Miller Barber (1982, 1984, 1985), Gary Player (1987, 1988), Jack Nicklaus (1991, 1993), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000) and Allen Doyle (2005, 2006).
Perry switched to a new putter on Wednesday – the day before the championship began. He was asked how crucial putting was to his victory: “It’s all about my putting. I’m a streaky putter, and when my putter gets hot, I usually win golf tournaments, and that’s exactly what happened this week. I put a new putter in play on Thursday and I shoot 65 right out of the gate with it, and the rest is history.”
Perry’s 16-under-par total is the third-lowest score in relation to par in championship history. Only Fred Funk (20 under, 2009) and Hale Irwin (17 under, 2000) were more strokes under par in 72 holes in a U.S. Senior Open.
Perry made two birdies and 16 pars in the final round. The last U.S. Senior Open champion to play a bogey-free final round was Bernhard Langer in 2010 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
Perry, on a par save on No. 10 that kept his bogey-free round going: “I flared [my drive] out and had about a 30-yard window between two big trees. It's one of those shots you think, when you're playing with your buddies, you're going to pull it off every time. But under these situations, you never know what's going to happen. It came off pretty, right through the middle of the gap and ended up on the front of the green. I was able to two-putt it.”
In the 2001 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club, no players had sub-par totals as Bruce Fleisher won with even-par 280. This year, 28 players broke par. The most sub-par totals for a championship is 36 at Inverness in 2011.
The 106 sub-par rounds in the championship is the third-highest total in U.S. Senior Open history. There were 128 at Inverness in 2011 and 116 at Crooked Stick in 2009.
The 485-yard, par-4 second hole played as the most difficult hole in the championship. It yielded two times as many double bogeys and others (20) as birdies (10) throughout the week and had a stroke average of 4.48.
An amateur made the cut in the U.S. Senior Open for the 14th consecutive year. Robby Funk, the lone amateur to make the cut, finished at 8-over 288 and, as low amateur, is exempt into next year’s championship.
Funk, on being the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open: “Making a 7-footer on Saturday morning to make the cut, then being able to hold my own … I'm proud of the way I performed. At the end, I just soaked it in. My dad was there, my wife was there, my kid was there. Finishing was very special today.”
Tom Watson completed 72 holes for the 16th time in the U.S. Senior Open, matching Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan for the most all-time.
For just the second time in four years, Bernhard Langer finished outside the top 10 in a senior major. His tie for 18th breaks a run in which Langer finished in the top 10 in 16 of 17 senior majors – a stretch which included seven victories.
Tom Lehman’s tie for fourth is his ninth top-25 finish in as many U.S. Senior Open starts.