Category - Major Events

Richard Bland Wins KitchenAid Senior PGA Title in Championship Debut

By Ryan Adams, PGA
Published on

There's been 27 names that've won the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in their debut. Sam Snead, Charlie Sifford, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player have all done it.
And now, Richard Bland joins that list.
The Englishman shot a sizzling final round 63 to shoot 17-under and secure a three-shot win over Australian Richard Green in the final KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Michigan's Harbor Shores Golf Club. Eight birdies and a highlight eagle at No. 15 gave him enough cushion to easily two putt on the last for par and the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy.
"I couldn't be happier," Bland said after winning. “I'm going to celebrate the hell out of this one.”
Bland after making the winning putt to secure victory.
Bland after making the winning putt to secure victory.
To get into the field, Bland was using a one-time exemption given to winners from 2019-23 on the PGA TOUR, DP World Tour and Japanese Tour (he won the 2021 British Masters). He was unable to play in 2023 due to a conflict with a LIV event and was invited to use his exemption this year.
And he took full advantage.
He jumped out to co-lead with Green after a first round 64, then followed up with a 66 to get into contention. Bland hit a bit of a speed bump with a third-round 74 that took some steam out his sails, but he admitted things weren't firing with his putter, adding, "I think I was just using a bit of scare tactics on my gamer."
An hour of putting work on Sunday morning seemed to help. Bland birdied four of his first six holes, then closed out a front-nine 31 with two more. He added another at No. 10 and 12, before a bogey at the par-3 13th knocked him out of the lead held by eventual third-place finisher Greg Chalmers.
Then . . . fireworks.
"Probably hit the best 4-iron in my life into 15," Bland said. "I had to take a little bit off it and try and hold it against the wind and came out absolutely perfect."
The shot ended up eight feet from the hole and Bland canned the eagle to take a one-shot lead over Chalmers. That plus a Chalmers bogey would give Bland a two-shot lead . . . but an incoming storm was about about halt the pending festivities.
Groups were taken off the course for an hour and 20 minutes, letting the lead settle in a bit with Bland, who really hadn't been in such a position since that incredible British Masters victory.
So, naturally, he passed the time not so much worrying about closing out a victory in senior golf's most prestigious major, but more so the prospects of his beloved Southampton soccer club competing in the Premier League.
"They've just earned their way back to the Premiership today in the playoff finals, so it's been a good day," said Bland. "But when I went out to go back playing again, I still felt pretty calm. You think that you've got sort of the two pars to win a senior tournament, you would be quite nervous, but it's amazing when you're actually in that position how calm you can be."
That calmness may have rooted in the fact that Bland was playing for his brother, Heath, who has been fighting bowel cancer over the last year. Then, he was diagnosed with lung cancer last Thursday.
And sometimes when you're playing for something or someone, there's that added level of pressure. But not for Bland. Because this time, the win wasn't for himself.
It was for Heath.
"There are a lot of great players out here, so coming into this week I was hoping that I had a good enough game to compete, and I'm glad that I've shown that," Bland said. "I won for my brother as well. I'm just so pleased that I could do this for him. This doesn't feel like it's my tournament . . . it's his."