30 Jun 2024 | Professional golf |

Green ready to apply pressure at US Senior Open

by Tony Webeck

Richard Green shakes hands with Hiroyuki Fujita
Richard Green will start the final round of the US Senior Open three back of Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/USGA

A patient Richard Green admits he may need some assistance to rein in tournament leader Hiroyuki Fujita heading into the final round of the US Senior Open at Newport Country Club.

Green bounced back from back-to-back birdies early in Round 3 to shoot 1-under 69 on Saturday in Rhode Island, his 54-hole total of 11-under putting him three strokes back of Fujita (67) and one behind American Steve Stricker (66).

A birdie at the opening hole was the ideal start to moving day for the Victorian left-hander but two poor iron shots at the par-3 fifth and par-4 sixth led to consecutive bogeys.

Five back of Fujita standing on the 14th tee, a perfect tee shot followed by a wedge to four feet got Green back to even par on his round. He hit a fairway wood to the back edge of the par-5 16th to set up an eagle chance with eight feet of break from left to right.

That putt finished four feet under the hole, Green converting to keep his hopes of a maiden senior major alive.

But he knows, given that Fujita has made just one bogey through 54 holes, that the pressure of a major championship will need to play its role in the final round.

“He’s going to take some beating if he plays like that tomorrow,” said Green, who played in the final group with Fujita in Round 3.

“It’s going to take a good round from the guys coming from behind to catch him.

“You never know in the pressure of a US Open at the end of the week what might happen, but I’ll just play my game and see where it ends up.”

Top 10 in both fairways hit (13/14) and greens in regulation (14/18) in Round 3, it was a more challenging day on the greens for the 53-year-old, who had 32 putts on day three.

Fellow Australian Cameron Percy didn’t need the putter at all to start his third round, holing a bunker shot for eagle at the par-5 first.

He would sign for an even-par 70 by day’s end to sit in a tie for eighth, the Victorian left to rue a number of careless mistakes through his round.

“I threw away a lot of shots today, which is annoying,” admitted Percy, now nine shots off the lead.

“I don’t know how long it took us, but just took us a long time and a lot of concentration.

“When you’re 50 and have to concentrate, it’s frustrating.

“It’s the sort of course where I feel like if you shoot 7 or 8-under, then you can maybe win if the other guy can drop back a little bit.

“It’s going to be hard to win. I’m a long way back now.”

Australasian scores 3 Richard Green 63-67-69—199 T8 Cameron Percy 70-65-70—205 T8 Steven Alker (NZ) 71-67-67—205 T36 Michael Long (NZ) 72-69-70—211 T42 Mark Hensby 75-63-74—212 T42 Stuart Appleby 67-74-71—212 T42 Greg Chalmers 72-70-70—212 T51 Michael Wright 68-72-73—213 70 Mathew Goggin 66-73-77—216 MC Rod Pampling 67-78—145 MC Richard Lee (NZ) 73-73—146

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