GolfDifferent Strokes

Richard Bland’s lucrative late career continues with Senior PGA win

New golf club in Florida called Kinsale; three Irish in Women’s US Open; tributes to Grayson Murray

Just like fine wine, Richard Bland’s golfing career has matured with ... the ker-ching sound – away from the LIV dollars which lured him to the breakaway tour – now ringing away on the Champions Tour circuit.

Playing on a sponsor’s invitation, the 51-year-old Englishman – who penned a letter to the PGA of America looking for a special exemption – was rewarded for his brass neck with a win on his first Seniors’ major appearance, collecting the KitchenAid Seniors PGA Championship title.

Bland won his one and only title on the DP World Tour (as a 48-year-old) when he captured the British Masters in 2021 on his 478th career start before making the move to LIV, for the most lucrative phase of his career.

What made his Senior Major success at Harbor Shores in Michigan all the more emotional for Bland was not the $630,000 pay-day but being able to dedicate it to this older brother Heath, who has been battling cancer.

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“He got diagnosed about a year ago now with bowel cancer. He had chemotherapy and radiology and what have you and he had to have surgery, so he’s had his bowel and I think his prostate and bladder removed. So now he’s two colostomy bags.

“And then they put him in remission and he went for a scan about two weeks ago and [found] a little sort of shadow on his lung ... last Thursday he got diagnosed with lung cancer. We’ll find out next week what is next for him. I’m just so pleased that I could do this for him. Like I said, this doesn’t feel like it’s my tournament, it’s his.”

By the Numbers

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There are three Irish players in the field for this week’s US Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, where Allisen Corpuz is the defending champion. The $12 million purse is the biggest in women’s golf. LPGA Tour players Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are joined by amateur Áine Donegan, who came through the qualifying tournament for a second straight year.

Kinsale to become upmarket golf club in Florida

Kinsale by name but very much American by nature, that’d be the new club that will soon be part of the golfing community in Naples, Florida.

The Kinsale Golf Club project is being led by noted golf course designer Gil Hanse and his business partner Jim Wagner and the upmarket club will be limited to a membership of 250 people fronting up $500,000 in initiation fees.

“Our biggest challenge with Kinsale is the size of the property,” Hanse told the local NaplesDaily News, of a course that will measure just 6,555 yards. “Everyone knows it is a compact site but if we didn’t think we could build a really great 18 holes, we wouldn’t have done the job. I’m 100 per cent confident in our abilities to move the earth and create interesting holes.”

Word of Mouth

“You see that plaque out there, right beside [the first] tee ... Justin Rose, Adam Scott, [Jordan] Spieth, unreal golfers, and just to etch my name along with those people is pretty special and it will be pretty cool to see my name there” – Davis Riley on getting his name on to the Colonial roll of honour after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge.

On this day ... May 28th, 1972

“I don’t remember hitting the putt,” were the first words from Bob Lunn, after he sank a birdie putt to win the Atlanta Classic and put an end to a near 18-month drought on the PGA Tour.

Little did he know that the win, the sixth of his career on the circuit, would also be his last.

Lunn’s closing birdie gave the 27-year-old Californian a final round 69 for a total of 13-under-par 275, two shots clear of Gary Player. The win gave Lunn a pay-day of $26,000 which was a multiple of his season’s earnings to that point, having only earned $6,880 in all events on tour that season before revisiting the winner’s circle.

Just a year previously, Lunn had been unable to complete a practice round on the hilly terrain at the tournament but a fitness programme which saw him add weight saw him complete the tournament, played in poor weather, in top physical condition.

A 25-footer for eagle on the par 5 second hole swung things in Lunn’s favour, having shared the 54-hole lead with Player. “I really don’t know why I was in such a slump, I guess it happens to everyone,” remarked Lunn.

X-Twitter Twaddle

Very sad to hear the news of Grayson Murray’s passing today. Life is so fragile ... I was just hugging you at the Masters, telling you how proud of you I am. Thankful to have known you. My deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time. He will be missed – Bubba Watson

Truly devastating news that Grayson Murray has passed away. He asked me for some advice on how to play Augusta a few months ago, last week I saw him at the PGA Championship, life truly is precious. My condolences and prayers to his whole family that they may find some peace – Luke Donald

Speechless to hear about Grayson. Guy had been through so many ups and downs to get where he was. I hurt so much for his family and the people closest to him. My condolences and deepest sympathies – Justin Thomas

Know the Rules

Q

A player plays their second shot, searches for the ball briefly and then goes back and drops another ball under penalty of stroke and distance. Before the player can play the dropped ball, the player’s original ball is found within three minutes of when the player first started searching for it. What is the ruling?

A

The player must continue with the dropped ball. Under Rule 18.1, once the player puts another ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance, the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played.

In the Bag

Davis Riley – Charles Schwab Challenge

Driver – Titleist TSR3 (9 degrees)

3-wood – Callaway Paradym Ai-Smoke Max (15 degrees)

Irons – Titleist T200 (3), Titleist T100 (4-6), Titleist 620MB (7-9)

Wedges – Vokey Design SM10 (46, 50, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter – Scotty Cameron Phantom X 7.2 tour prototype

Ball – Titleist ProV1