Weather Pushes Final Round into Monday at Newport C.C.

By David Shefter, USGA

| Jun 30, 2024 | Newport, R.I.

Weather Pushes Final Round into Monday at Newport C.C.

For the first time since 2016, there will be a Monday finish at the U.S. Senior Open. A late-afternoon thunderstorm on Sunday at Newport (R.I.) Country Club suspended play in the final round of the 44th edition of the championship, and conditions would not allow play to resume.

The USGA tried to get ahead of the pending storm by scheduling an 8:20 a.m. EDT start for Round 4 on Sunday, but heavy fog delayed those plans for two hours. Only 11 of the 71 players competing managed to finish their final round on Sunday before the weather suspension at 3:01 p.m. EDT.

USGA officials announced an 8 a.m. EDT resumption of play with Golf Channel broadcasting live and Peacock streaming the action. This also is a non-ticketed event and not open to the public.

In 2016 at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, play was pushed to Monday, with Gene Sauers prevailing by one stroke over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Billy Mayfair.

Hiroyuki Fujita, 55, of Japan, the 36- and 54-hole solo leader (he was tied with Richard Green, of Australia, after Round 1), currently has a three-stroke lead over Richard Bland, of England, through 10 holes. The final threesome of Fujita, Green and 2019 champion Steve Stricker had just hit their tee shots on the par-4 11th when play was suspended. Bland, playing in the group ahead, had not yet completed his 11th hole.

Fujita, an 18-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and last year’s Japan Senior Open champion, is bidding to become the first male golfer from Japan to win a USGA championship. Three females have achieved the feat, including Yuka Saso earlier this month in the U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club. The other two female USGA champions from Japan both won the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Michiko Hattori in 1985 and Saki Baba in 2022.

Fujita has missed just one fairway and registered only two bogeys through 64 holes.

Bland, who birdied his first three holes on Sunday, sits at 13 under par. The 51-year-old is trying to win a second consecutive senior major, having claimed the Senior PGA Championship a few weeks ago in Benton Harbor, Mich. That victory earned him a spot in the U.S. Senior Open.

In May 2021 at the age of 48, Bland became the oldest first-time winner on the European Tour (now DP World Tour) when he captured the Betfred British Masters in his 478th start on the circuit. A month later, he shared the 36-hole lead with eventual champion Jon Rahm in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

In 2022, Bland decided to make the jump to LIV Golf and thus has not competed on the PGA Tour Champions other than the two senior majors in 2024.

Green currently is four strokes back at 12 under, while Stricker, who came into Sunday with a remarkable final-round scoring average of 67.6 in three previous U.S. Senior Open starts, is 2 over for the day and six strokes back.

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