U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Five Groups to Watch
June 26, 2017 | PEABODY, Mass.
By Mike Trostel, USGA
The 38th U.S. Senior Open will be the sixth USGA championship conducted at Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass., and the first since the 2001 U.S. Senior Open, won by Bruce Fleisher. This year, there are some notable players competing in their first U.S. Senior Open (David Toms, Jerry Kelly and Nick Faldo), others looking to add their name to the Ouimet Trophy for a second time (Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry and Colin Montgomerie), and a few established stars looking to break through after runner-up finishes in past championships (Tom Watson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Fred Couples). Here are five groups to watch on Thursday, June 29 and Friday, June 30, during the first two rounds of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open:
Colin Montgomerie, Scott McCarron, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Thursday, No. 10 8:03 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 1:48 p.m. EDT)
After going winless in 75 career major championship starts, Montgomerie, 54, has three senior major victories since turning 50 in 2013. He won the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla., defeating Gene Sauers in a three-hole aggregate playoff.
McCarron, 51, and Jimenez, 53, each already have a win in 2017. Jimenez, known for his love of wine, cigars and “risqué” pre-round stretching routines, has finished in the top 5 in five of his last six senior major starts.
Jeff Maggert, Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry (Thursday, No. 10 8:24 a.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 2:09 p.m. EDT)
The ageless Langer, 59, won the first two senior majors of 2017, bringing his career total to nine, passing Jack Nicklaus for first on the all-time list. Since the 2013 U.S. Senior Open, Langer has won seven senior majors and has finished in the top 10 in 17 of the 18 major championships in which he has played.
This grouping is one of two featuring three past U.S. Senior Open champions – Peter Jacobsen, Hale Irwin and Roger Chapman is the other. Langer won the 201o U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee C.C. in Sammamish, Wash., while Perry was victorious in the 2013 championship at Omaha (Neb.) C.C. and Maggert earned his title in 2015 at Del Paso C.C. in Sacramento, Calif.
Mark O'Meara, Vijay Singh, Ian Woosnam (Thursday, No. 1, 1:48 p.m. EDT; Friday, No. 10, 8:03 a.m. EDT)
This group of Masters champions – Woosnam (1991), O’Meara (1998) and Singh (2000) – not only represents three countries separated by thousands of miles, but also features a wide disparity in height.
Singh, 54, of Fiji, is nearly a foot taller than Woosnam, 59, of Wales, though both have won more than 50 tournaments worldwide. O’Meara, 60, of Houston, was the runner-up in the 2011 U.S. Senior Open, while Singh (2014) and Woosnam (2016), both have top-5 finishes in the championship.
Nick Faldo, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Watson (Thursday, No. 1, 2:09 p.m. EDT; Friday, No. 10, 8:24 a.m. EDT)
Faldo, 59, makes his first start in the U.S. Senior Open despite being eligible for nearly a decade. The six-time major champion scaled back his competitive schedule to focus on a golf broadcasting career, but returns to play in a USGA championship just 20 miles north of The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., the site of his runner-up finish to Curtis Strange after an 18-hole playoff in the 1988 U.S. Open.
Watson, 67, is an eight-time major champion and six-time senior major winner. He won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, dramatically chipping in on the 71st hole to deny Jack Nicklaus a fifth U.S. Open title. Watson has finished runner-up in the U.S. Senior Open three times and, most recently, held the 36-hole lead at Del Paso C.C. in 2015. He finished tied for 16th at Salem in 2001, seven strokes behind Fleisher.
Faldo (1987, 1990, 1992), Watson (1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983) and Calcavecchia (1989) are all winners of The Open Championship conducted by The R&A.
Tom Kite, Lee Janzen, Corey Pavin (Thursday, No. 10, 1:48 p.m. EDT; Friday, No. 1, 8:03 a.m. EDT)
Kite, Janzen and Pavin combined to win four of the seven U.S. Open Championships between 1992 and 1998.
Kite’s windswept win at Pebble Beach in 1992 featured an unlikely chip-in on the short par-3 seventh that helped catapult him to victory. Janzen rallied from behind against Payne Stewart in his victories at Baltusrol (1993) and Olympic (1998), making him one of just 21 players to win the championship multiple times in its 117 playings. Pavin used a perfectly struck 4-wood on the 72nd hole to hold off Greg Norman at Shinnecock Hills in 1995.
Janzen, 52, finished tied for fifth in the 2015 U.S. Senior Open, while Pavin, 57, finished as co-runner-up in the 2012 championship. Kite, 67, has three top-3 finishes in the U.S. Senior Open, but is competing for the first time since 2014. He finished 15th at Salem in 2001, six strokes behind Fleisher.
Michael Trostel is the senior content producer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.