Round 4 Notebook: U.S. Senior Open

July 14, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Kenny Perry went out in 5-under 30 and never looked back, overcoming a two-stroke deficit at the start of the day, by posting a 63 to cruise to a five-stroke victory over Fred Funk at the U.S. Senior Open. The win was Perry’s fourth career victory on the Champions Tour and he claimed his second major championship in his 11th career start in a senior major. He won the U.S. Senior Open in his second appearance in the championship, having missed the cut last year at Indianwood Golf & Country Club. Perry’s 63 in the final round matched Allen Doyle’s final-round score in 2005 as the lowest by a winner in U.S. Senior Open annals. His 72-hole total of 13-under 267 matched Hale Irwin’s number at the 2000 U.S. Senior Open as the lowest four-round score in the history of the championship.

Kenny Perry (67-73-64-63--267/-13)

• Coupled with his victory at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago at Fox Chapel Golf Club near Pittsburgh, Perry became the second player in the last four years on the Champions Tour to win consecutive majors.  Here’s a complete list of consecutive major winners in Champions Tour history (9):
Miller Barber – 1981 Senior PGA Championship, 1982 U.S. Senior Open
Arnold Palmer1984 Senior PGA Championship, 1984 Senior Players Championship
Gary Player – 1987 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship, 1987 U.S. Senior Open, 1988 Senior PGA Championship
Orville Moody
– 1989 Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship, 1989 U.S. Senior Open
Jack Nicklaus – 1991 The Tradition at Desert Mountain, 1991 Senior PGA Championship
Lee Trevino – 1992 The Tradition, 1992 Senior PGA Championship
Tom Watson – 2003 JELD-WEN Tradition, 2003 Senior British Open
Bernhard Langer – 2010 Senior British Open, 2010 U.S. Senior Open
Kenny Perry – 2013 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS, 2013 U.S. Senior Open

• Perry is the just the second of the nine to claim consecutive majors with one round above par in each victory. Miller Barber had rounds above par in both his 1981 Senior PGA Championship win and 1982 U.S. Senior Open win. Perry became the first player to claim the U.S. Senior Open with a round above par since 2008 when Eduardo Romero carded a final-round 73 (+3) and still won by four strokes at The Broadmoor (East).

• Earlier this year in the other two senior majors he played, Perry was T2 at the Senior PGA Championship, losing a three-shot lead with six holes to play at Bellerive, and was T15 at the Regions Tradition. 
• Perry’s victory Sunday marks the third time is the last four years that a player has claimed multiple majors in a season on the Champions Tour. In addition to Langer in 2010, Roger Chapman won both the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open last year.

• Perry becomes the third player to win the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS and the U.S. Senior Open in the same year, joining Gary Player (1987) and Orville Moody (1989). Others to win both in their careers include (8): Miller Barber (1982, 1984, 1985 U.S. Senior Open/1983 Senior Players), Arnold Palmer (1981 U.S. Senior Open/1984, 1985 Senior Players), Billy Casper (1983 U.S. Senior Open/1988 Senior Players), Jack Nicklaus (1990, 1993 U.S. Senior Open/1991, 1993 Senior Players), Dave Stockton (1996 U.S. Senior Open/1992, 1994 Senior Players), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000 U.S. Senior Open/1999 Senior Players), Allen Doyle (2005, 2006 U.S. Senior Open/2001 Senior Players), Peter Jacobsen (2004 U.S. Senior Open/2005 Senior Players).

• Perry becomes the first player since Michael Allen to record consecutive wins on the Champions Tour. Allen won the 2012 Encompass Insurance Pro-Am of Tampa Bay and then teamed with David Frost to win the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf the next week.

• Perry becomes the third multiple winner on the Champions Tour this year. Bernhard Langer was the first multiple champion, claiming the ACE Group Classic and Greater Gwinnett Championship. David Frost won the Toshiba Classic and the Regions Tradition.

• Perry earns 1,000 Charles Schwab Cup points and now enjoys a sizeable lead in the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup race. Perry has 2,508 points on the season. David Frost, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer, his closest pursuers coming into this week, did not earn any points at the U.S. Senior Open.

• Perry also earned a check for $500,000 and moved to the top of the 2013 Champions Tour money list with $1,499,550.

• Perry’s win Sunday earned him an exemption into next year’s U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 2 and he is now exempt into the U.S. Senior Open for life. 

Perry's statistics for the week
Driving distance 300.5 yards 1st
Driving accuracy 25 of 52 (48.1 percent) T55
Greens in regulation 51 of 72 (70.8 percent) T9
Total putts 113 (1.57 average) T4
Three-putt greens 4 of 72 T39
Sand saves 2 of 5 T38

• Perry’s last four weekend rounds on the Champions Tour have been 63-64-64-63, a cumulative 26-under on the weekend in his last two senior majors. He shattered the record for biggest comeback in this event at the halfway mark, coming from 10 strokes back after the first 36 holes this week. Both Larry Laoretti (1992) and Brad Bryant (2007) came from seven strokes back at the halfway mark, sharing the old U.S. Senior Open record. Perry’s weekend total of 13-under 127 set the U.S. Senior Open record for the last 36 holes, besting Hale Irwin’s old mark of 12-under 130 in 2000 at Saucon Valley CC (Old).

• Perry’s five-stroke victory is the largest in a U.S. Senior Open since Fred Funk won by six strokes at Crooked Stick Golf Club in 2009 and the third biggest victory margin overall. Gary Player also won the U.S. Senior Open by six strokes at Brooklawn Country Club in 1987.  It also matched the largest winning margin on the 2013 Champions Tour. David Frost won by five strokes at the Toshiba Classic in March.

• Perry’s best finish in 12 career appearances in the U.S. Open was a T3 in 2003 at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago.

Round Statistics at the U.S. Senior Open:

• Winners have now come from behind to claim three of the first four majors on the 2013 Champions Tour. In addition to Kenny Perry coming from two strokes back to win both the U.S. Senior Open and the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS, Kohki Idoki came from five strokes back on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship. David Frost led the Regions Tradition by one stroke after three rounds and won by one.

• Fred Funk finished second in the U.S. Senior Open for the second consecutive year. The 2009 U.S. Senior Open champion carded a final-round 68 and was the only player in the field to post four straight rounds of par/better. Funk now has 14 rounds in the 60s of the 28 career rounds played in this championship. In addition to a victory and back-to-back second-place performances the last two years, Funk was second in 2008 at The Broadmoor.

• Steve Elkington’s final-round 65 moved him up into a T6 finish at this year’s U.S. Senior Open, his top effort on the Champions Tour in his rookie season. Elkington’s previous-best this year was a T8 at the Toshiba Classic.

• Duffy Waldorf final-round 67 moved him up into a T9 finish at the U.S. Senior Open and he remains the only player to post top-10 finishes in each of the Champions Tour’s first four majors in the 2013 season. Waldorf was T6 at the Senior PGA Championship, T5 at the Regions Tradition and T2 two weeks ago at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. 

• Scoring averages at the par-70 Omaha Country Club:

  Front 9 Back 9 Total
Round 1 36.800 37.192 73.987
Round 2 36.732 37.336 74.053
Round 3 34.969 35.375 70.344
Round 4 35.281 35.562 70.844

• Field scoring averages at the U.S. Senior Open since 2000:

Rd. 1
Rd. 2
Rd. 3
Rd. 4
Omaha CC
70.844 73.011 +3.011
Indianwood G&CC
73.310 73.584 70.800 71.569 72.777 +2.777
Inveress Club
73.955 74.000 70.383 71.966 73.212 +2.212
Sahalee CC
76.727 76.493 72.985 72.463 75.373 +5.373
Crooked Stick GC
74.397 75.371 72.532 71.935 74.117 +2.117
The Broadmoor
75.083 75.694 72.000 73.148 74.589 +4.589
Whistling Straits
76.289 75.475 75.389 76.014 75.828 +3.828
Prairie Dunes CC
74.917 75.266 71.328 70.902 73.968 +3.968
74.245 74.209 72.625 72.500 73.739 +2.739
Bellerive CC
75.155 74.092 72.267 72.383 73.981 +2.981
Inverness Club
77.961 76.810 73.983 73.283 76.336 +5.336
Caves Valley GC
76.799 75.474 73.175 72.651 75.200 +4.200
Salem CC
76.622 74.869 72.984 73.469 75.014 +5.014
Saucon Valley CC
74.619 75.129 72.388 72.224 74.099 +3.099

• The most difficult hole this week at the U.S. Senior Open was the par-4 8th hole (4.583). Playing at 477 yards, the par-4 8th has yielded just 15 birdies for the week. And Corey Pavin was one of his three players to birdie the hole in Round 3. The 494-yard par-4 10th hole (4.584) at Omaha Country Club has played as the second most difficult for the field through the first 54 holes, yielding just eight total birdies. Kenny Perry was the only player to birdie the 10th hole today.

• Jeff Hart made the biggest move on Sunday jumping 27 places into a T14 with a final-round 65.

• Corey Pavin’s five straight birdies Sunday (Nos. 7-11) matched South African Chris Williams' five straight birdies in Round 3 as the best birdie streak in event history. Williams birdied his first five holes on Saturday. Both players also matched the all-time record for consecutive birdies in U.S. Senior Open history. Prior to this week, six other players had made five straight birdies during a round in this championship, most recently Jay Don Blake at Indianwood Golf & Country Club last year.