Return to the Golf Today Home Page All the latest golf news Coverage of all the worlds major tours For all your golfing needs Golf Course Directory Out on the course Golf related travel Whats going on, message board, links and more!
Worldwide Feature Articles
Top Stories
PGA: Stephen Ames coasts to six shot win
PGA: Tiger Woods ends difficult week with 75
Euro: Van de Velde ends 13 year victory wait
Stephen Ames vaults to World No. 27
Boost for the Philippine Open
Tiger Woods misses practice to be with father

Fleisher looks to defend Senior US Open

A little attitude adjustment went a long way for Bruce Fleisher at last year's U.S. Senior Open.

A severe storm forced Fleisher to complete the last four holes of the third round before starting the final 18. He bogeyed three of those holes, dropped four shots behind Isao Aoki and returned to his hotel feeling sorry for himself.

Fleisher got no sympathy from his wife, Wendy, who told him he was a baby and that he needed to grow up.

The pep talk worked. Fleisher shot a final-round 68 to claim his first Senior Tour major championship with a one-stroke victory over Aoki and Gil Morgan.

"Whenever I hear defending champion, it still sends a little bit of a chill through my spine," said Fleisher, whose title defense Thursday at the par-71 Caves Valley Golf Club. "It was a wonderful time in my life. I can't believe the year has gone by so fast."

The 53-year-old learned a valuable lesson -- playing a U.S. Open course isn't supposed to be easy, and the 7,005-yard Caves Valley Golf Club course won't be, either. It features narrow fairways, fast greens and thick rough -- all the staples of a U.S. Open championship.

"The Open's a different animal," Fleisher said. "It should be different, it should be hard. You just have to deal with it. You have to overcome that. Be a man about it."

Last year's victory put him in a select group as he joined Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and Senior Open titles.

Fleisher won the 1968 U.S. Amateur title at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.

"I played in a 1969 Masters and didn't get back to Augusta until 1992, so I'm a late bloomer," he said. "I'm one of those kids that bloom late, versus a rose that kind of dies early. I'm enjoying the ride. It's been a wonderful 3 1/2 years. You (media) folks have made it wonderful for me."

Fleisher is winless this year, but ranks fourth on the money list with $989,691 and could close the gap on leader Hale Irwin in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with a victory this weekend.

Less than $400,000 separates the top-five money-winners -- Irwin, Dana Quigley, John Jacobs, Fleisher and Doug Tewell. Fleisher, the only member of the top five not to win a tournament this year, is looking to become the third different player to capture a Senior major title in 2002.

Jim Thorpe took the Countrywide Tradition and rookie Fuzzy Zoeller claimed the Senior PGA Championship, his first win on the elder tour. The final major, the Senior Players Championship, takes place in two weeks.

Missing from the tournament will be the 62-year-old Nicklaus, who pulled out on Monday due to recurring back problems. He was forced to withdraw from the Senior PGA Championship due to the same injury after barely making the cut.

Nicklaus has appeared in just three competitive tournaments this year. He has 10 Senior Tour titles but none since 1996. Of his 10 titles on the elder circuit, eight have come in majors.

Also withdrawing on Monday was 60-year-old J.C. Snead, just one day after winning the Greater Baltimore Classic. Snead became only the 11th player to win a Senior PGA Tour event beyond the age of 60, but he backed out because of exhaustion.

The nephew of golf legend Sam Snead, who died last month from complications following a stroke, J.C. Snead earned his fourth Senior title on Sunday and first since 1995. At 60 years, eight months and eight days, he became the sixth-oldest player to win on the Senior Tour.

Irwin, a perennial favorite and two-time Senior Open winner, will be looking to extend a remarkable streak. Although he has not won since the Toshiba Senior Classic in early March, Irwin is seeking his 12th straight top-six finish.

Irwin has two wins this year, his 33rd and 34th on the Senior Tour, and leads Quigley by 383 points in the Schwab standings. Irwin won the 2000 U.S. Senior Open with a record 17-under par 267 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Designed by Tom Fazio in 1991, Caves Valley Golf Club is hosting the U.S. Senior Open for the first time.

Email this page to a friend | Return to top of page