PATIENT TOMS BREAKS FROM BROADMOOR PACK

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Keane, USGA)

The following article was written by Ron Driscoll, USGA Communications Department.

Colorado Springs, CO - July 1,2018

After making a birdie on No. 16 to take a one-stroke lead, David Toms channeled some positive thoughts from his previous major championship victory, the 2001 PGA Championship, to make a critical up-and-down par on the 71st hole and capture the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Broadmoor.

Toms was paired with third-round leader Jerry Kelly and held the solo lead by one stroke early on the incoming nine. But he bogeyed the par-4 13th hole from a bunker to fall into a five-way tie at 2 under par with Kelly, Paul Goydos, Brandt Jobe and Tim Petrovic.

Goydos, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, knocked in a 31-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th hole to briefly break the logjam and take the solo lead at 3 under. But he missed the 17th and 18th greens and failed to get up and down each time to slip to 1 under par, into a tie for fifth place with Jobe and Paul Broadhurst, who closed with a 1-under 69.

Then it was Toms’ turn to break the deadlock for good. He and Kelly both hit the green on the 162-yard, par-3 16th, and after Kelly missed his 21-foot birdie bid, Toms lined up his 16-footer.

“I knew there were a bunch of guys at 2 under,” said Toms. “I had a straight uphill putt, a good look at it. I got it going on line and it went straight in the middle. I think speed is very important when you’re putting on these greens, and my speed got better and better as the week went on.”

When he knocked his drive on the difficult par-4 17th into a fairway bunker, leaving himself no chance to reach the green in two because the ball sat near the bunker’s face, he recalled the up-and-down par he made on the 72nd hole to edge Phil Mickelson by one stroke at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001.

“That was the first thing that popped into my mind after I had to hit the shot out of the bunker,” said Toms, who laid up his second shot to 93 yards from the hole. “I was in the middle of the fairway, I’m still in good shape. It's normally a par 5, just like No. 18 at the Athletic Club was. I just said I need to go make a birdie.”

Toms admitted that he “didn’t hit a very good third shot at all,” leaving himself 19 feet above the hole. But once again, he rolled it into the heart of the hole.

“That was just an unbelievable putt I made for par,” said Toms, 51, who missed the cut in his previous U.S. Senior Open start last year. “Certainly that was the key to victory.”

Kelly, who held the solo lead the first three days and was seeking to become just the second wire-to-wire winner in championship history, made the turn in even-par 36 to retain his one-stroke advantage. But he stumbled with back-to-back bogeys on holes 11 and 12 as Toms took the lead for the first time.

“It was a great championship,” said Kelly who closed with a 2-over 72 to tie for second with Jimenez and Petrovic, one stroke behind Toms’ 3-under total of 277. “It always comes down to those putts. He makes birdie on 16. And let me tell you, that par putt on 17 – I had a front-row seat. That was just a pure putt and that’s why he’s a major champion.”

Jimenez and Petrovic both made birdie on No. 18, with Jimenez’s 11-footer capping an up-and-down round that included five birdies and a damaging double bogey-bogey combination on the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth. It was the Spaniard’s second runner-up finish in this championship in four starts.

Petrovic, Kelly’s college teammate at the University of Hartford, knocked his approach to 2½ feet on No. 18 to give himself a second straight runner-up finish in a senior major, after losing by one stroke to Broadhurst in the Senior PGA Championship in late May.

Jimenez and Broadhurst, who both finished with 1-under 69s, were two of only three players to break par on Sunday, joining Duffy Waldorf, who shot 68. It was the fewest under-par rounds in the fourth round of a U.S. Senior Open since 1991 at Oakland Hills Country Club, when two under-par rounds were recorded.