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BLAND SHARES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

News
Written by
Mike McAllister
May 23 2024
- 3 MIN
Bland PGA Round 1 story image

LIV Golf player Richard Bland, competing in his first senior tournament, shares the first-round lead at this week’s Senior PGA Championship.

The 51-year-old Englishman shot an opening bogey-free 7-under 64 on Thursday at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to share the lead with Australian Richard Green. The co-leaders are two strokes ahead of a group of four players that includes defending champion Steve Stricker and past Masters champ Mike Weir.

“Nice to start the senior career with 7 under,” Bland said. “Very happy with the way I played.”

Bland, the Cleeks GC veteran and a member of LIV Golf's original 2022 field, is playing the Senior PGA via a special invite he recently received from the PGA of America. He also received an invite to play last year’s tournament but was unable to do so, as it fell on the same week as a LIV Golf event.

“When I looked at the schedule this year, I saw that it was a free week, so I kind of reached out and said, look, I appreciated the gesture for the invite. If it could be run to this year I would love to come play,” Bland said.

“And Bob Jeffrey [PGA of America Director] came straight back and said, we would love to have you, so here I am. I know [CEO] Seth Waugh very well. He was my Dunhill partner a few moons ago now. So I saw Seth last night. You know, I thanked him for it. Yeah, I'm very grateful for the invite and hopefully I can do something with it.”

Bland opened his first round Thursday with a par, then birdied the next two holes. His round was highlighted with an eagle at the par-5 15th.

He had a chance to take the solo lead on his finishing hole, the par-5 ninth, but settled for par after an errant drive.

“The only shot I didn't commit to all day was the tee shot on 9, which was a little disappointing, because it's kind of a really good opportunity to make birdie there and grab the lead,” he said. “… Probably the first time I've done that this year, so I guess I got to cut myself a little bit of slack.”

Bland is scheduled to tee off in the second round Friday at 8:43 a.m. ET.

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