U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Patient Toms Breaks from Broadmoor Pack
July 1, 2018 | COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
After making a birdie on No. 16 to take a one-stroke lead, David Toms channeled some positive thoughts from his previous major championship victory, the 2001 PGA Championship, to make a critical up-and-down par on the 71st hole and capture the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Broadmoor.
Toms was paired with third-round leader Jerry Kelly and held the solo lead by one stroke early on the incoming nine. But he bogeyed the par-4 13th hole from a bunker to fall into a five-way tie at 2 under par with Kelly, Paul Goydos, Brandt Jobe and Tim Petrovic.
Goydos, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, knocked in a 31-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th hole to briefly break the logjam and take the solo lead at 3 under. But he missed the 17th and 18th greens and failed to get up and down each time to slip to 1 under par, into a tie for fifth place with Jobe and Paul Broadhurst, who closed with a 1-under 69.
Then it was Toms’ turn to break the deadlock for good. He and Kelly both hit the green on the 162-yard, par-3 16th, and after Kelly missed his 21-foot birdie bid, Toms lined up his 16-footer.
“I knew there were a bunch of guys at 2 under,” said Toms. “I had a straight uphill putt, a good look at it. I got it going on line and it went straight in the middle. I think speed is very important when you’re putting on these greens, and my speed got better and better as the week went on.”
When he knocked his drive on the difficult par-4 17th into a fairway bunker, leaving himself no chance to reach the green in two because the ball sat near the bunker’s face, he recalled the up-and-down par he made on the 72nd hole to edge Phil Mickelson by one stroke at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001.
“That was the first thing that popped into my mind after I had to hit the shot out of the bunker,” said Toms, who laid up his second shot to 93 yards from the hole. “I was in the middle of the fairway, I’m still in good shape. It's normally a par 5, just like No. 18 at the Athletic Club was. I just said I need to go make a birdie.”
Toms admitted that he “didn’t hit a very good third shot at all,” leaving himself 19 feet above the hole. But once again, he rolled it into the heart of the hole.
“That was just an unbelievable putt I made for par,” said Toms, 51, who missed the cut in his previous U.S. Senior Open start last year. “Certainly that was the key to victory.”
Kelly, who held the solo lead the first three days and was seeking to become just the second wire-to-wire winner in championship history, made the turn in even-par 36 to retain his one-stroke advantage. But he stumbled with back-to-back bogeys on holes 11 and 12 as Toms took the lead for the first time.
“It was a great championship,” said Kelly who closed with a 2-over 72 to tie for second with Jimenez and Petrovic, one stroke behind Toms’ 3-under total of 277. “It always comes down to those putts. He makes birdie on 16. And let me tell you, that par putt on 17 – I had a front-row seat. That was just a pure putt and that’s why he’s a major champion.”
Jimenez and Petrovic both made birdie on No. 18, with Jimenez’s 11-footer capping an up-and-down round that included five birdies and a damaging double bogey-bogey combination on the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth. It was the Spaniard’s second runner-up finish in this championship in four starts.
Petrovic, Kelly’s college teammate at the University of Hartford, knocked his approach to 2½ feet on No. 18 to give himself a second straight runner-up finish in a senior major, after losing by one stroke to Broadhurst in the Senior PGA Championship in late May.
Jimenez and Broadhurst, who both finished with 1-under 69s, were two of only three players to break par on Sunday, joining Duffy Waldorf, who shot 68. It was the fewest under-par rounds in the fourth round of a U.S. Senior Open since 1991 at Oakland Hills Country Club, when two under-par rounds were recorded.
39th U.S. Senior Open is in the books with a win by David Toms. Thank-you to everybody who made this possible from @thebroadmoor @usga and all the volunteers and spectators! #ussenioropen pic.twitter.com/FRAkEhGeql— Colorado Golf Assoc (@ColoGolf) July 2, 2018
Toms led the way with the fewest putts over the weekend: 27 in Round 3 when he tied for the day’s low round with a 66, and 26 on Sunday. Broadhurst, Goydos and Jobe were among a large group of players who were tied for sixth among the 60 players who made the cut with 28 putts in the final round. Toms was tied for fourth in putts for the week with 117. Philip Golding, who finished in a tie for 28th, led the way in putts with 112.
Kelly led the way in fairways hit for the week with 48, 10 more than Toms, who was T21 in that category. Kevin Sutherland led in the greens in regulation for the week with 61 of 72, with Jimenez and Gene Sauers a distant second with 54 apiece. Toms was tied for 21st with 48.
Kirk Triplett made 16 birdies, one more than Tom Pernice Jr. Toms made 12 for the week, tying him for eighth-most. Davis Love III, who tied for 10th place, led in driving distance for the week with a 321.1-yard average. Toms was 21st with a 296.5-yard average.
The 501-yard, par-4 10th was the toughest hole for the week, playing to a 4.49 stroke average. The 240-yard, par-3 12th was second-toughest at 3.49, while the par-3 fourth was third at 3.47 strokes. The par-5 ninth and third were the easiest holes and the only ones to play under par for the week, at 4.87 and 4.91, respectively.
Wilson Earns Low-Amateur Honors
Jeff Wilson shot a final-round 73 to capture low-amateur honors and join Vinny Giles III as the only golfers to be low amateur in both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open. Wilson, of Vallejo, Calif., led Mike Finster, of St. Petersburg, Fla., by one stroke entering the final round and defeated him by three.
“Coming down the wire today, I was about as nervous as you could be,” said Wilson, who made back-to-back, three-putt bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9 before steadying himself. “I just wanted to play nine solid holes on the way in and let the chips fall where they may. [Giles] was a great amateur player and to be mentioned in the same light, that’s terrific.”
Wilson was low amateur at Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open, and he earns a spot in the 118th U.S. Amateur there in August with his finish. Wilson will also be exempt into the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur and the 2019 U.S. Senior Open at The Warren Course at Notre Dame (Ind.).
Attendance Highest Since 2013 at Omaha
The attendance for the week totaled 134,500, including 28,700 fans on Saturday and 31,000 on Sunday. The weekend totals and the weekly numbers were the highest since the 2013 championship at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. That championship posted more than 157,000 in total attendance with nearly 33,000 on Saturday and 34,354 on Sunday. The USGA announced immediately after the final round that the 2025 U.S. Senior Open will be held at The Broadmoor. Omaha had previously been announced as the host of the 2021 championship.
Brandt Jobe, who tied for fifth after finishing third in 2017:
“I didn’t give myself enough good chances, based on how I drove the ball. I just kept hitting everything long, which didn’t even make sense. It was frustrating because I drove it well enough to certainly shoot 3 or 4 under par today. I just didn’t take advantage of it. I didn’t do a good job managing my distances today.”
Jerry Kelly, who finished one stroke back after leading through three rounds:
“My wife always says, nobody enjoys getting [upset] more than you. I love competing and when things aren’t going well, I’m going to be fiery, I’m going to go at it. But, man, this is fun, this is why I’m out on this Tour, really. It’s fun to go through it all, it really is. Painful but fun.”
Kelly, who had a positive outlook after the runner-up finish:
“This one’s going to motivate me in a big way. We have got two majors in a row coming up, and I’m ready to go tee it up tomorrow morning. I hit fantastic shots on the back side. The bounces did not go my way when the balls landed on the greens. That’s golf. I made some good second putts to hang around, but I didn’t put myself in position to make birdies coming down the stretch.”
2010 champion Langer on moving from T55 to T16 on the weekend:
“I think it’s the tough conditions that bring the better players to the forefront over four rounds. I played really good, I hit a lot of great shots, especially this weekend, and today I got nothing out of it. I could have just as well shot 66 and I shot 72. Which is not good, but I’m proud of the way I played, just not happy with the way I scored.”
Toms, on his first win as a senior player, and his first victory in seven years:
“I’ve been close; I played in the last group last week on Sunday. Until you’re able to win, you have that doubt. I thought a lot about the International this week, winning there in 1999 at Castle Pines. In fact, what I thought about over the last putt that I had on 18 was that year that I won the International, I had to two-putt to win and I had a downhill right-to-left breaking putt just like I had. You can tell that I was always trying to draw on something positive from the past.”
Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.