USGA Photo

Richard Bland Outlasts Fujita in Epic U.S. Senior Open Playoff at Newport Country Club

In a thrilling climax to the 44th U.S. Senior Open, England’s Richard Bland emerged victorious, securing his second senior major title of the season with a par on the fourth playoff hole. The drama unfolded at the historic Newport Country Club, where Bland outlasted Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita in a grueling Monday finish in Rhode Island.

Both competitors completed regulation at 13-under 267, leading to a two-hole aggregate playoff on Nos. 10 and 18. With both players recording par-par, the playoff transitioned to a sudden-death format on the 18th hole. The tension heightened as both golfers bogeyed the first sudden-death hole. On the second, Bland’s clutch up-and-down from a greenside bunker clinched the title.

Bland, who had earlier secured the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in Michigan, completed a remarkable final round of 66 in the morning, overcoming severe weather delays. The victory at Newport, the most prestigious 50-and-over title in golf, was particularly sweet for the 51-year-old LIV Golf League member, who is ineligible to play on the PGA Tour Champions due to his affiliation.

Fujita’s attempt to match Bland’s par fell short when he failed to get up-and-down from just short of the green. The victory not only added another major title to Bland’s resume but also made for compelling social media moments, especially with Bland donning his Cleeks GC hat from LIV Golf.

This U.S. Senior Open was the 1,001st championship conducted by the United States Golf Association, following Bryson DeChambeau’s win at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, also a LIV player. Bland’s triumph at Newport joins the annals of the club’s storied history, alongside legends like Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam.

The defining moment came on the par-4 18th, where Bland’s bunker shot hit the pin and stopped an inch from the hole, drawing raucous cheers from the gallery. Fujita’s subsequent 20-foot par putt to tie barely missed, leaving Bland to tap in for the championship.

“The trap shot came out perfect,” Bland remarked. “I knew he had a tricky putt. I was trying to put the pressure back on him.”


Bland’s back-to-back senior major titles began with his victory at the Senior PGA Championship in late May, where he fired an impressive final-round 8-under 63 to win by three shots. His entry into the U.S. Senior Open came as a result of that triumph.

Resuming play early on Monday, Bland wasted no time in cutting Fujita’s lead, particularly with a clutch birdie on the 14th that followed a bogey on the 13th. Fujita’s bogey on the 14th opened the door for Bland, tying them up with four holes remaining.

Bland’s career resurgence in recent years included a notable victory at the 2021 Betfred British Masters on the DP World Tour, where he became the oldest first-time winner at 48. He also shared the 36-hole lead at the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, showcasing his ability to compete at the highest levels.

In the end, it took a two-hole aggregate playoff and two additional holes of sudden death to separate Bland and Fujita. Both golfers went par-par-bogey in the first three playoff holes, playing the par-4 18th three times before Bland’s bunker save secured his victory.

Bland’s win also earned him a spot in the 2025 U.S. Open.




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