The Edmond Sun


July 16, 2013

Perry laps field to capture 2013 U.S. Senior Open

Final-round 63 gives him 5-stroke victory over Funk

OMAHA, Neb. — Two things that Kenny Perry loves are fast cars and fast greens.

On Sunday at Omaha Country Club, he got the fast greens, and given those conditions, he zoomed past the field at the 34th U.S. Senior Open like he was in a Ferrari.

He appears to have found a fifth gear the past three weeks.

Perry, 52, of Franklin, Ky., carded a 7-under-par 63 – matching the week’s low round and one off the championship record – on the 6,657-yard layout to complete a five-stroke victory over Fred Funk.

His 127 total over the final two rounds shattered the U.S. Open record by three strokes, and it was the second time in three weeks that Perry had posted 127 on a weekend to claim a senior major championship. Two weeks ago, Perry had rounds of 63-64 to win the Senior Players Championship outside Pittsburgh. He is now the third golfer in Champions Tour history to win the Senior Players and U.S. Senior Open in the same year, joining Gary Player (1987) and Orville Moody (1989).

His 10-stroke comeback over the final 36 holes also is the greatest in Senior Open history.

“That was probably the greatest closing round I've ever had, meaning the ease of it,” said Perry, who plans to take a new General Motors COPO Camaro out on the racetrack near his home next week. “The score was easy. The shots were easy. I didn't have any stress.

“I've always putted great on super, super fast greens. Muirfield [Village] is always 14 [feet] or whatever [on the Stimpmeter]. I just like to be able to let the ball lead off the face instead of having to hit the ball. And I felt very comfortable on the greens today.”

Perry’s 267 total (13 under) matched Irwin for the lowest 72-hole score in Senior Open history. It’s also the sixth time in the last 10 Senior Opens that the champion finished double-digits under par.

“He gets on these crazy runs,” said Rocco Mediate, who finished tied for third with Corey Pavin at 7-under 273. “He did it on the [PGA] Tour. Now he's doing it here. It's amazing. He doesn't back off. He's a great champion. He should win one of these, as good as he plays.”

How good was Perry? He started the day two strokes behind 54-hole leader Michael Allen, who shot a 2-over 72 to finish fifth at 274, and raced right by him — and anyone else trying to catch him — by shooting 5-under 30 on the outward nine. During one stretch, he birdied five holes in a six-hole stretch from No. 6 to reach 12 under.

He did bogey the 12th hole, but recovered by stuffing his third shot to the par-5 14th to a foot for a tap-in birdie. And for good measure, he tallied another easy birdie on the 15th hole. He finished the championship ranked No. 1 in birdies (22), total putts (113) and driving distance (300.5 yards).

“I played flawless out there,” said Perry.

His pursuers would agree. Mediate, Pavin and Funk shot 66, 67 and 68, respectively, and it was as if they were running in quicksand. Perry was simply too strong and too good to catch.

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