Richard Bland

Richard Bland holds his nerve to secure US Senior Open

England’s Richard Bland won his second consecutive senior major title with a nerve-wracking victory in the US Senior Open.

Bland edged out Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita on the second hole of sudden death after the pair had finished tied on 13 under par and could not be separated by a two-hole aggregate play-off.

Both men parred the first hole of sudden death before returning to the 18th, where Bland hit the pin with his third shot from a greenside bunker to leave a tap-in par for victory after Fujita narrowly missed his own par attempt.

“This is very special,” Bland said at the presentation ceremony. “I’m struggling to put this into words right now.”

Fujita held a three-shot lead after 10 holes when the final round was suspended due to dangerous weather on Sunday afternoon.

At that point the 55-year-old had made just two bogeys all week, but when play resumed on Monday he dropped shots on the 11th, 12th and 14th as Bland – in the group ahead – followed a bogey on the 13th with birdies on 14 and 15.

That gave Bland a one-shot lead but he bogeyed the 18th and could only look on as Fujita came agonisingly close to holing a long birdie putt for the win.

“I made a great birdie on 15 to go one in front but kind of tried to trip over myself on the last and was just thankful to get in the play-off,” Bland said.

“The trap shot was one of those you could be really aggressive with and I’m just thrilled beyond words to be stood here. To go two-for-two [in senior majors] is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Bland dedicated his Senior PGA Championship win in May to his brother Heath, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer just over a year ago and recently learned he had cancer in the lungs.

Speaking as he cradled the US Open trophy, Bland joked: “He can have the PGA but I’m sorry, he’s not going to get this one out of my hands. This one’s staying in my house.”

Bland won his first DP World Tour event in his 478th start in the 2021 British Masters and joined LIV Golf during its debut season in 2022.

As things stand, the 51-year-old will be unable to contest the Senior Open at Carnoustie later this month as he is contracted to play the LIV event near Uttoxeter in the same week.