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

David Shefter
Special to The Sun

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

Total: $2,685,000



(a) Denotes no money earned by amateur



David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.