Harrington finishes strong as Bland wins Senior PGA thriller

Ronan MacNamara

Richard Bland (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Richard Bland shot a blistering 63 to clinch his maiden senior major title at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Bland fired eight birdies and an eagle as he pulled away to win by three shots on seventeen-under-par with Richard Green in second place and Greg Chalmers a shot further back in third.

The Englishman, who won his maiden DP World Tour title aged 48 has been playing his golf on the LIV Tour but he was eligible to compete at Harbour Shores this week after receiving an invite.

Bland opened with back to back birdies before dropping a shot on the third. He roared to the turn with four birdies in five holes to thrust himself into contention and he soared ahead with birdies on 10 and 12.

A bogey on the par-3 12th did little to stop him and he hammered home his advantage with a stunning eagle on the par-5 15th.

“Yeah, just trying to just take it all in right now. It’s not really sunk in too much. I’m sure it will over the next two, three days.

“Yeah, I’m sure glad I wrote that email in kind of December to Bob Jeffrey. As I just said in the champion’s toast, I got an invite last year. PGA of America kindly invited me lasts year but I couldn’t fulfill the obligation of playing. It clashed with another event.

“And, yeah, I checked the schedule around December last year and saw that it was a free week, and I reached out to Bob and he came back and said, yeah, we would love to come have you play.

“So, yeah, so I’m thankful for the PGA of America for that. Yeah, they might have my ugly mug around for a few more tournaments now.

“Yeah, right now just kind of being pulled pillar to post, which is fine. Yeah, I’m just so happy right now.”

This was Bland’s debut on any over-50 tour and he hopes he dedicated it to his older brother who had been battling bowel cancer but recently got diagnosed with lung cancer.

“Yeah, a lot of pride. A lot of satisfaction. Won for my brother as well.

“So, yeah, I didn’t — you know, there are a lot of great players out here, so coming into this week I was hoping that I had a good enough game to compete, and I’m glad that I’ve shown that obviously to myself for my own confidence going forward.

“So, yeah, hopefully there is more to come.”

Pádraig Harrington finished in a share of 17th place as he saved his best round for last with a 67 for a five-under-total. Darren Clarke was a shot further back in T21 after a 69.

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