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Thursday, June 28, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the US Senior Open

Yesterday it was the women, today the seniors. Let's pick five players I think will play well at the US Senior Open.

Defending champion Kenny Perry

Kenny Perry is the defending champion and the event will be played at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado. You may remember the Broadmoor from 2011, when it hosted the US Women's Open and So Yeon Ryu -- my pick for this week's KPMG -- won her first major there in a weather-plagued, five-day event that ended in a playoff.

There are a number of players in good form as the Champions Tour enters their third major this season and, as with the women, it's hard to go wrong picking any of them. But I'm limited to five, so here we go.
  • I'll start off with Paul Broadhurst. While not a prolific winner on the tour (only four total), he has proven that he has what it takes to win majors -- two of them in fact, the 2016 Senior Open and the 2018 Senior PGA. Broadhurst is a quiet but solid player, and not someone you want to overlook.
  • Likewise, I have to include Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who won this year's Tradition. (Yes, I've gone chalk so far, taking both of this season's major winners. So sue me.) He has five wins, one being that major... but he's also playing extremely well on the European Tour against the young guys. You've got to like the Spaniard's chances.
  • Speaking of players who are still competitive on the regular tours, let me suggest that Steve Stricker is playing well enough to take this major. He was T20 at the US Open at Shinnecock, so he's in major form. And he's played six events on the Champions Tour this season -- he has two wins and his worst finish is a T5 at the Legends of Golf, which is a team event. When solo, he has nothing worse than a T3! Yeah, I like Stricks this week.
  • Scott McCarron is T5 and T3 so far this season in majors, and he's coming off a win at the American Family Insurance Championship last week. As competitive as McCarron is, it's hard for me to take Bernhard Langer over him, especially since he's playing better than Langer right now. (Langer's always a favorite for me, just like Inbee Park on the LPGA, but I think other players are in better form going into this major. Sorry, Bernhard. Feel free to prove me wrong.) And McCarron did win the Senior PLAYERS last year, so he knows how to get it done.
  • But who to take as my flier? Hmmm... David Toms is only in his second year with the old guys and is still looking for his first win of any kind on the Champions Tour. Still, five Top5s and seven Top10s this season say he just might be ready to break through. And let's not forget that he does have a PGA and a WGC-Match Play on the regular tour, so he's been there before as well.
But who to choose, who to choose? Really, this is a no-brainer for me. I can't help but feel that Stricker is ready to get a major. With six Top5s in six starts -- and two wins -- how can I bet against him? Given his accuracy -- and knowing that the last USGA event hosted at the Broadmoor was won by a super-accurate Ryu -- I don't think anybody will be surprised to see him take a US Senior Open.

[UPDATE: I've done this before, but I'm always amazed when I do it. Stricker isn't playing this week! So I guess we'll just see how my other four players do. Maybe I need to get more sleep before I do these things...]

Remember that, since this is a USGA event, it will be broadcast on FOXSports1-- not GC -- starting Thursday at 4pm ET.

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