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.
“When he gets going, he's really tough to catch,” said Pavin, who made five consecutive birdies from No. 8. “He's powerful, hits it a long way and makes a lot of putts when he gets it going. [When] he shoots scores like he's shooting now, it's pretty tough to keep up with him.”
During his PGA Tour career, Perry came close to winning majors twice, losing heartbreaking playoffs at the PGA Championship (1996 to Mark Brooks) and the Masters (2009 to Angel Cabrera). He also tied for third at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club. Perry, in fact, has been trying to win USGA championships since his first U.S. Open appearance 25 years ago at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
But not until he turned 40 did Perry begin to show his potential. Eleven of his 14 PGA Tour victories came after age 40 and now he owns four wins on the 50-and-over circuit, including the two majors. The Senior Open might have been his third senior major of 2013 had he not blown a late lead at the Senior PGA Championship earlier this year at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
“It's probably my greatest win,” said Perry of his Senior Open triumph. “When you win your National [Senior] Open, I mean, that's what we all strive for. I really wanted to win the Masters and the PGA and a U.S. Open on [the PGA] Tour, but I couldn't make it happen. Now to finally have a national title to my name … I'm very proud of that trophy. I think it's probably the greatest trophy I've won.”
Funk knows about clutching the Francis Ouimet Trophy. He won it in 2009 at Crooked Stick and now has finished second three times. The 57-year-old from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was within striking distance on the first nine, but never got closer after Perry went on his birdie barrage midway through the round.
Ditto for Mediate, the 2008 U.S. Open runner-up who was competing in his first Senior Open. An eagle at the par-5 sixth moved him to within two strokes of the lead, but like Funk, he couldn’t keep up the fast pace being set by Perry.
“Kenny just played phenomenal,” said Funk. “I played with him the first two days [of the Senior Players Championship] at Fox Chapel, and through 30 holes, he wasn't doing anything. All of a sudden, he just went crazy.”
But don’t look for Perry to go for three consecutive majors in two weeks at the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale in England. Having played eight of the last nine weeks on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour, he is planning to take a break from competitive golf. He wants to spend some time with his family and, of course, hit Beech Bend, the drag-racing track 20 miles from his home, with the new vehicle that he expects to pick up on Friday.
It’s a limited-edition Camaro that is not street-legal.
“I’m tired,” he said. “I am going home to celebrate.”
And take a victory lap.
Oak Tree National’s Gil Morgan placed 42nd in the money rankings, while Edmond’s Willie Wood and Bob Tway failed to make the earnings list.
Prize Position Contestant Nationality Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Total
$500,000 1 Kenny Perry USA 67 73 64 63 267
295,000 2 Fred Funk USA 67 70 67 68 272
155,503 T3 = Rocco Mediate USA 68 67 72 66 273
Corey Pavin USA 69 73 64 67 273
103,416 5 Michael Allen USA 67 63 72 72 274
83,461 T6 = Steve Elkington Australia 70 70 71 65 276
Jeff Sluman USA 69 67 72 68 276
Chien Soon Lu Chinese Taipei 68 75 65 68 276
60,800 T9 = Kirk Triplett USA 70 72 71 65 278
Duffy Waldorf USA 70 69 72 67 278
Tom Lehman USA 67 71 70 70 278
Bart Bryant USA 72 69 67 70 278
Chris Williams South Africa 70 72 66 70 278
44,989 T14 = Jeff Hart USA 71 74 69 65 279
Peter Senior Australia 68 73 70 68 279
Loren Roberts USA 76 67 68 68 279
Fred Couples USA 71 69 70 69 279
Bernhard Langer Germany 68 74 68 69 279
37,890 19 Mark O'Meara USA 67 71 70 72 280
33,779 T20 = Joe Daley USA 72 70 68 71 281
David Frost South Africa 72 70 67 72 281
Steve Pate USA 72 69 67 73 281
24,845 T23 = Tom Watson USA 70 70 73 69 282
Kohki Idoki Japan 69 74 70 69 282
Barry Lane England 73 71 68 70 282
Gary Hallberg USA 67 74 69 72 282
Jeff Brehaut USA 69 68 72 73 282
John Riegger USA 72 69 67 74 282
Tom Pernice Jr. USA 74 69 65 74 282
18,023 T30 = Colin Montgomerie Scotland 69 73 72 69 283
John Huston USA 77 68 69 69 283
Jeff Freeman USA 73 68 72 70 283
Esteban Toledo Mexico 71 69 71 72 283
Larry Mize USA 71 72 68 72 283
14,827 T35 = Joel Edwards USA 73 71 72 68 284
Jay Don Blake USA 67 74 73 70 284
Willie Wood USA 75 68 71 70 284
Jay Haas USA 73 72 69 70 284
John Cook USA 72 70 69 73 284
Gene Sauers USA 73 70 68 73 284
Peter Fowler Australia 70 70 68 76 284
12,446 T42 = Mark McNulty Ireland 72 72 68 73 285
Gil Morgan USA 73 70 68 74 285
11,124 T44 = Tom Kite USA 70 75 69 72 286
Larry Nelson USA 73 72 68 73 286
Gary Koch USA 71 68 72 75 286
9,538 T47 = Gary Wolstenholme England 72 72 76 67 287
David Eger USA 70 71 75 71 287
Don Pooley USA 74 69 69 75 287
8,156 T50 = George Forster USA 70 73 75 70 288
Dan Forsman USA 70 74 72 72 288
Steve Lowery USA 69 72 73 74 288
Andrew Morse USA 74 70 70 74 288
7,556 T54 = Joe Ozaki Japan 71 72 77 69 289
Mark Calcavecchia USA 72 73 74 70 289
7,067 T56 = (a) Doug Hanzel USA 74 70 73 73 290
Hale Irwin USA 74 69 73 74 290
Gene Jones USA 73 72 71 74 290
Stan Utley USA 70 74 70 76 290
Brian Henninger USA 71 72 70 77 290
6,635 T61 = Tim Thelen USA 74 71 75 71 291
Eduardo Romero Argentina 69 73 76 73 291
Lance Ten Broeck USA 74 71 73 73 291
6,417 64 Walt Chapman USA 69 73 79 75 296
(a) Denotes no money earned by amateur
David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final-round 63 gives him 5-stroke victory over Funk
OMAHA, Neb. —
Two things that Kenny Perry loves are fast cars and fast greens.
OSU clears field for Bedlam game Saturday
Oklahoma State University crews are clearing snow from Boone Pickens Stadium to make sure the field and stands are ready for Saturday’s Bedlam Rivalry football game, Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations Gavin Lang said.
No. 6 OSU hosts No. 20 Oklahoma. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. Saturday.
OSU crews started removing the snow Friday morning. The process is expected to continue through Friday afternoon.
Two UCO football players named All-Region
Central Oklahoma running back Joshua Birmingham and wide receiver Marquez Clark both earned first-team recognition on the Daktronics All-Super Region Three Team that was released today, with Clark also claiming second-team honors at kick returner.
First-team honorees on the four all-region teams selected around the country are now eligible for Daktronics All-America selection, with those teams to be announced Dec. 17.
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Bulldogs use extra period in conquest of Norman North
Defense and Kristian Doolittle drawing fouls aided Edmond Memorial to a 53-48 win in overtime at Norman North Tuesday night.
“It was a total team effort,” Bulldog head coach Shane Cowherd said about the triumph. “We had great play from Jacob Essman on the glass and Kristian Doolittle who drew foul after key foul.”
Down the stretch, Memorial’s Taylor Hicks hit some huge free throws to contribute to the team win. Hicks led the ‘Dogs with 14 points, Essman added 11 and Doolittle finished with nine.
“It was a very solid win for us,” Cowherd added. “Norman North is very talented.
Football playoffs moved back a week
With the primary concern of the safety and welfare of participants, coaches, administrators and fans, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has postponed all state football playoff games one full week.
Oklahoma State University has served as a gracious host for the past four years for Classes 6A through A, and their understanding of the need to insure safe travel for the schools helped the OSSAA to make the determination. We also extend our gratitude to Tulsa University and their administrative staff for making themselves available to our member schools.
Lady Huskies start out in win column
The Edmond North Lady Huskies stepped out on the right foot Tuesday night, staving off visiting Stillwater 70-64 in the first game of the 2013-14 season.
“We kept our composure and continued to be aggressive,” said North head coach Karlie Free. “Stillwater attempted to apply some pressure with a full-court press, but we handled it and had kids step up and hit free throws down the stretch.”
Big baskets in the final period came from a pair of up-and-coming freshmen as 5-7 Lauren Koenig and 5-7 Emma Ledbetter came through in the clutch to keep the Huskies on top. The rookie duo each hit double-figures, scoring 10 points each.
Wolfpack swarms Millers in third quarter
After a 36-36 deadlock at intermission with Yukon Tuesday night, the Edmond Santa Fe boys jelled as a defense in the third period to pull away from the Millers 78-66 at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
“We didn’t come out and do a very good job defensively the whole night,” said Wolves coach Lenny Hatchett after the opening-night victory. “It was mainly because Yukon did a great job of playing smart and patient. We did come out in the second half and play more as a team, but we have to do a better job of putting four quarters together — we just played better team defense in the third quarter.”
In the third, the Wolfpack took the stanza handily by a 20-7 margin.
Wolf Curran Scott exploded for 29 points, hitting a perfect 15-of-15 from the charity stripe. He was ensued by teammate Daron Mims’ 16 points.
Santa Fe will host 15th Street foe Edmond Memorial Friday night weather permitting.
YMCA spring sports registration nears
Registration for YMCA spring sports will run from Dec. 17 through Jan. 24 for volleyball (ages 8-15), track (5-14) and soccer (3-14) at the Rankin and the new Mitch Park YMCA located at 1501 W. Covell Road.
For the Rankin YMCA, call 348-9622 or visit www.ymcaokc.org.
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UCO men rout OCU
Seth Heckart scored eight points during a 22-6 run early in the second half that put Central Oklahoma back in control and the Bronchos went on to roll over Oklahoma City 85-63 Saturday afternoon at Hamilton Field House on the second day of the UCO Classic.
The Stars had trimmed a 14-point first-half deficit to four early in the second half before Heckart scored five straight points to ignite the big scoring spurt that ended with UCO holding a 20-point cushion and the Bronchos coasted in from there.
It was the fourth straight win for Central, which improved to 6-1 in finishing off a two-game sweep in the weekend event.
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