Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Fujita leads suspended U.S. Senior Open by 3

By admin Jul6,2024

Jun 30, 2024, 05:22 PM ET

NEWPORT, R.I. — Hiroyuki Fujita held a three-stroke lead with eight holes to play in the final round of the U.S. Senior Open on Sunday when the tournament was suspended because of severe weather at Newport Country Club.

Fujita was 2 under for the day on the 7,024-yard, par-70 course at the mouth of the Narragansett Bay when the horn sounded at 3 p.m. because of storms. The USGA announced at 4:55 p.m. that the tournament would resume Monday.

Richard Bland birdied the first three holes to move into second place. The Senior PGA champion was 13 under for the tournament with eight holes left. Richard Green was 1 under for the day and at minus-12 for the tournament. Steve Stricker, the U.S. Senior Open runner-up each of the past two years, was 2 over for the fourth round to fall six shots off the lead.

Vijay Singh was 4 under through 15 holes to move into a tie for fifth place, nine shots behind Fujita; he had three holes left to play when the rains came. Ernie Els was 5 under through 15 holes and was tied for eighth.

Tournament organizers tried to squeeze the golf in between the morning fog, which enshrouded the towers of the nearby Newport Bridge and blocked the view of the greens from the tees, and the severe weather forecast for the afternoon. The leaders teed off two hours late, at 12:20 p.m., and were heading to the 11th tee when the first wave of thunderstorms came through at 3 p.m.

At that point, Fujita had pulled away from Stricker and Green, his playing partners. Bland, who started the day five strokes back at 9 under, was minus-4 for the day and in second at the turn.

A two-time MVP on the Japan Golf Tour, Fujita has never won on American soil and had not broken 70 in any of his rounds on the PGA Tour Champions. His best finish in a major was a tie for 41st in the 2005 British Open at St. Andrews.

But he has led wire-to-wire, thanks to a 63 in the first round and a nearly flawless performance off the tee, hitting 49 of 50 fairways in the tournament — including his past 38 in a row.

He birdied the second hole but then made just his second bogey of the tournament on No. 3 when a 3-foot par attempt lipped out. He birdied the ninth to move back to 16 under.


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