By Tony Webeck
Fifteen years after holding the clubhouse lead at the 2007 Open Championship, Victorian Richard Green is chasing more major glory at this week’s US Senior Open in Pennsylvania.
Green, Mark Hensby, John Senden and Gavin Coles conquered qualifying to secure their spot at Saucon Valley Country Club, bolstering an Aussie contingent that also boasts Rod Pampling, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby and Kiwis Steven Alker and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell.
Green’s graduation into the senior ranks was delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak but the 51-year-old is quickly making up for lost time.
He has spent the past few weeks criss-crossing the Atlantic – topping US Senior Open qualifying in Ohio and missing the cut at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship before making a triumphant debut on the Legends Tour in Europe.
Green defeated 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie in a playoff to claim the Jersey Legends event and after last week’s European Legends Links Championship returns to the US for his second senior major.
A course record 64 in the final round at Carnoustie in 2007 gave Green an anxious wait to see whether his four-round total of 279 would be enough to claim the Claret Jug.
Hours later, however, he was consigned to a share of fourth, two shots out of the playoff won by Padraig Harrington over Sergio Garcia.
Harrington may once again prove to be the player to beat this week as the three-time major champion makes his US Senior Open debut on the back of three runner-up finishes on the Champions Tour in the past 10 weeks.
“I’m coming into these as the new kid on the block,” said Harrington. “I’m in good shape, so I’m trying to manage my own expectations.
“It feels like how I would have been trying to manage my tournament preparation back in my heyday, where I’d be going into these events, not hoping to win, but strongly expecting to be in contention.”
As the Aussie over-50s prepare for a typical USGA test, two of our rising stars are returning to the international scene in Europe.
Elvis Smylie is playing his first event on the DP World Tour since last September’s Dutch Open while Gippsland Super 6 champion Jack Thompson is making his Challenge Tour debut at the Blot Open de Bretagne in France.
With seven Aussies teeing it up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, Junseok Lee defending his Kolon Korea Open crown and Marc Leishman chasing a second Travelers Championship win it promises to be another busy week for Australia’s international contingent.
Round 1 tee times AEST
Champions Tour US Senior Open Championship Saucon Valley Country Club, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 9.31pm* John SendenMatt Gogel, Thomas Gillis 9.52pm* Robert AllenbyDoug Barron, Bob Estes 10.13pm* Stuart ApplebyBrandt Jobe, Paul Goydos 10.45pm* Gavin ColesDavid Berganio Jr, Ken Duke 3.01am mark hensbyRobert Funk (a), Omar Uresti 3.22am Michael Campbell (NZ)Scott Verplank, Olin Browne 3.43am Rod PamplingPaul Broadhurst, Markus Brier 4.04am Steven Alker (NZ)Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer 4.25am Richard Green, Brian Wilson, Jack Hall (a) Defending champion: Jim Furyk (2020) Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1997) Top Aussie prediction: Richard Green TV times: Live 4am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 6am-9am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 505 LPGA Tour KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Maryland 9.16pm* katherine kirkAllie Knight, Linnea Johansson 9.38pm* Sarah KempAmy Olson, Sanna Nuutinen 9.55pm Hannah GreenNasa Hataoka, Lizette Salas 10.44pm* your ohGerina Mendoza, Yaeeun Hong 11.12pm Sarah Jane SmithStephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, Nuria Iturrioz 2.17am* Stephanie KyriacouJenny Suh Thompson, Brittany Lang 2.50am* minjee leeSei Young Kim, Anna Nordqvist 3.01am* Lydia K.o (NZ), Ariya Jutanugarn, Jessica Korda Defending champion: Nelly Korda Past Aussie winners: Jan Stephenson (1982), Karrie Webb (2001), Hannah Green (2019) Top Aussie prediction: Minjee Lee TV times: Live 2am-5am Friday , Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 3am-6am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 505 PGA TOUR Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut 8.45pm* Danny Lee (NZ)Brian Harman, Jonas Blixt 9.15pm Cam DavisMark Hubbard, Brandt Snedeker 9.15pm* Jason DayStewart Cink, Charles Howell III 2.40am Marc LeishmanPatrick Cantlay, Harris English 4am* Brett Drwitt, Curtis Thompson, Adam D’Amario Defending champion: Harris English Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1995), Marc Leishman (2012) Top Aussie prediction: Marc Leishman TV times: Live 5am-8am Friday, Saturday; Live 3am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 DP World Tour BMW International Open Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany 3.50pm wade ormsbyAdrian Otaegui, Oliver Bekker 4.10pm* Ryan Fox (NZ)Billy Horschel, Thomas Pieters 5.10pm scott hendFrederic Lacroix, Rafa Echenique 8.50pm* elvis smylieOliver Fisher, Espen Kofstad 9.30pm* Maverick AntcliffNino Bertasio, Jonathan Caldwell 10.20pm Zach Murray, Julian Suri, Daan Huizing Defending champion: Viktor Hovland Past Aussie winners: Peter Fowler (1993) Top Aussie prediction: TV times: Live 8.30pm-2am Thursday; Live 11.30pm-2am Friday; Live 9.30pm-2am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503 Japan Golf Tour Japan Players Championship Nishinasuno Country Club, Tochigi 8.10am Dylan PerryDaijiro Izumida, Shintaro Kobayashi 8.20am adam blandMiraiya Akutsu, Tatsuya Kodai 8.30am Michael Hendry (NZ)Kenshiro Ikegami, Tomohiro Kondo 9.20am* David Brandon, Yuki Mori, Takeda Nosuke 12.40pm* Andrew EvansYosuke Asaji, Kodai Ichihara Defending champion: Naoyuki Kataoka Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Dylan Perry Asian Tour Kolon The 64th Korea Open Golf Championship Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, Korea 9.31am Ben EcclesJooyeob Baek, Seung Park 12.41pm Wonjoon LeeMinchel Choi, Wooyoung Cho (at) 1.03pm Jun Seok LeeBio Kim, Sihwan Kim 1.25pm* kevin yuanItthipat Buranatanyarat, Daehyun Jun 1.36pm* kevin chunNatipong Srithong, Jaemin Hwang 2.09pm* Cory Crawford, Taewoo Kim, Seonghyeon Jeon Defending champion: Junseok Lee Past Aussie winners: Junseok Lee (2021) Top Aussie prediction: Junseok Lee TV times: Live 2pm-6pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 2pm-6pm Sunday on Fox Sports + Korn Ferry Tour Live and Work in Maine Open Falmouth Country Club, Falmouth, Maine 8.40pm* Curtis Luck, Robby Shelton, Sangmoon Bae 9.43pm* Nick Voke (NZ)Michael Johnson, Alex Weiss 9.54pm* Ryan RuffelsTaylor Dickson, John Pak 2.11am Rhine GibsonNorman Xiong, Charlie Saxon Defending champion: Chad Ramey Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Curtis Luck Challenge Tour Blot Open de Bretagne Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, Pléneuf, France 6.50pm* jack thompson, Matias Honkala, Pieter Moolman Defending champion: Julien Brun Past Aussie winners: Scott Arnold (2015) Top Aussie prediction: Jack Thompson Epson Tour Island Resort Championship Sweetgrass Golf Club, Harris, Michigan Australasians in the field: Laura Hoskin, Robyn Choi, Julienne Soo , Grace Kim, Karis Davidson, Amelia Garvey, Hira Naveed, Gabriela Ruffels, Soo Jin Lee, Stephanie Na, Emily Mahar Defending champion: Morgane Metraux Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Ladies European Tour Tipsport Czech Ladies Open Beroun Golf Club, Czech Republic Aussies in the field: Amy Walsh Defending champion: Atthaya Thitikul Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Amy Walsh PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Bupa Tour Championship PGA Riviera Maya, Tulum, Mexico 11.30pm* Denzel Ieremia (NZ)Andreas Halvorsen, Matias Dominguez Defending champion: Patrick Newcomb Past Aussie winners: Nil PGA TOUR Canada Elk Ridge Open Elk Ridge Resort (Tournament Cse), Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan 10.30pm Will Barnett, Riley Wheeldon, Philip Barbaree 4.40am CameronJohn, Ryan Orr, Parker Coody Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Cameron John