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Richard Bland tied for lead at 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

Richard Bland tied for lead at 2024 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — What could be the final KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship started Thursday with a Shootout at the Jack Nicklaus Corral — Harbor Shores.

When a wonderful day for scoring — clear, cool skies with little wind — was done and the sun was setting over Lake Michigan, 50 of the 155 players in the field for the year’s second major for the 50-and-over crowd shot under par 71 at the 6,970-yard Nicklaus design. Two unexpected golfers — Australian left-hander Richard Green and England’s Richard Bland — shared the overnight lead at 7-under 64.

“I think we had as good a day as we’re going to have this week,” said the 53-year-old Green, who is 26th on the PGA Champions Tour with $305,353, after his morning round which included an eagle on the 582-yard, par-5 fifth hole, six birdies (three in a row starting at No. 9) and just one hiccup, a bogey at the 410-yard sixth. “As good a day as you’re going to get really this close to Lake Michigan.”

The 6-foot-4 Green, a former “Sweet 16” qualifier in the 1992 Western Amateur down the road at Point O’Woods, will get no argument from the 51-year-old Bland, a member of LIV Golf who was playing in his inaugural PGA Champions Tour event.

“It’s nice to start the senior career with 7 under,” Bland said after his round which started with a five-under 30 on the back nine with birdies at 11, 12 and 18 and an eagle at the 538-yard 15th hole before he birdied Nos. 5 and 6 on the front before scrambling for pars at Nos. 8 and 9.

“There’s still a long way to go,” Bland quickly added. “We’re all here, we’ve been around the block enough. All it is is a good start.”

Green and Bland were two strokes ahead of five golfers, including defending KitchenAid Senior PGA champion Steve Stricker, who at one point was tied for the morning lead at seven-under but double-bogeyed the par-4, 425-yard 16th hole.

Stricker settled for a morning round of five-under 66 matched by Canadian lefthander Mike Weir and South Korea’s K.J. Choi. In the afternoon, they were joined by Iowa club professional Jeff Schmid and Scott Dunlap, who bogeyed the 570-yard, par-5 ninth or he would have had third by himself.

There were another five golfers who shot four-under 67s – Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Japan’s Katsumasa Miyamoto, Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and Americans Brian Gay and Stewart Cink.

The 55-year-old Clarke, who won the 2011 Open Championship and often shows his Irish emotions,…


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