Champions Tour: Major for Bland, out Canonica

English golfer Richard Bland clinched victory at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, a major tournament for players "over 50" organized by the PGA Tour Champions

by Andrea Gussoni
Champions Tour: Major for Bland, out Canonica
© Getty Images Sport - Patrick McDermott / Stringer

English golfer Richard Bland clinched victory at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, a major tournament for players "over 50" organized by the PGA Tour Champions. The event took place at the Harbor Shores Resort course (par 72) in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Richard Bland, results

Bland's triumph came with a total score of 267 (64 66 74 63, -17) strokes, highlighted by a remarkable final round of 63 (-8) featuring an eagle, eight birdies, and two bogeys. This impressive performance propelled him past three Australian contenders: Richard Green, who finished second with 270 (-6); Greg Chalmers, third with 271 (-13), the leader after 54 holes; and Scott Hend, fourth with 272 (-12), tied with Jason Caron.

Chris Di Marco and South African Ernie Els shared sixth place with a score of 273 (-11). Italian golfer Emanuele Canonica also participated in the tournament, initially ranking 19th after one round but ultimately missing the cut and finishing in 93rd place with a score of 147 (69 78, +5).

Richard Bland's golfing journey is a testament to perseverance and resilience. Hailing from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England, Bland turned professional in 1996, embarking on a career that would see its fair share of challenges and triumphs.

In 2001, Bland secured his first professional win at the Challenge Tour Grand Final, a victory that propelled him to the European Tour for the 2002 season. Despite facing setbacks and struggles to maintain his card over the years, Bland's determination saw him regain his playing status through various avenues, including the Challenge Tour rankings and qualifying school.

In May 2021, Bland achieved a remarkable milestone by clinching his first victory on the European Tour at the Betfred British Masters. At the age of 48, he became the oldest first-time winner in European Tour history, a testament to his enduring passion and dedication to the sport.

Just a month later, Bland made waves at the U.S. Open, becoming the oldest player to hold a share of the lead after two rounds, although he ultimately finished tied for 50th. Throughout the 2021 European Tour season, Bland continued to impress with eight top-10 finishes, culminating in a career-best 11th place finish on the Race to Dubai rankings.

In January 2022, he added another notable achievement to his resume by finishing as the runner-up at the Dubai Desert Classic. In his quest to qualify for prestigious events like the Masters Tournament, Bland showcased his skill and determination, narrowly missing out on opportunities despite strong performances.

His participation in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Valero Texas Open demonstrated his unwavering commitment to competing at the highest level. However, Bland's journey faced a setback in June 2022 when he joined the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series, resulting in fines and suspension from the European Tour for playing without a conflicting event release.

Subsequently, he resigned his membership from the tour in May 2023 after sanctions were upheld. Despite facing obstacles, Bland's passion for the game remains undiminished. His application for entry to the 2023 Senior Open Championship exemplifies his desire to continue competing at the highest level, even in the face of adversity.

Pga Tour