Who will be the happiest golfer Sunday night at the 42nd Senior US Open at the historic Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?
Or maybe someone else?
We’re running our best guesses with 10 players watching the Senior Open return to Socon Valley for the third time (1992, 2000) starting Thursday. And we tell you who we think will win.
This is the third of five undergraduate specializations in 2022.
There are 156 players on the field. Here are our 10 with their Thursday game times in brackets.
Steve Stricker (14:04 at 10th court)
He won the Senior Open three years ago, still spends some time playing on the regular PGA Tour, and has 30 top-10 finishes in 36 Champions Tour starts. Pretty impressive stuff.
Bernhard Langer (14:04 on 1st court)
He turns 65 in August and is still regularly beating guys on this tour (where the minimum age is 50). In 10 starts this season, he has one win, a second and two-thirds. Wonderful.
Bob Estes (7:52, 10th court)
Bob Estes? Yes, there’s a dark horse choice here, but he’s the best club on the Tour of Champions, and the greens of Saucon Valley are disgusting.
Jim Furik (8:34, 10th court)
He is the reigning Senior Open champion; the crowd will be behind him because he is a native of Pennsylvania (Manheim Township High School); and he is a big name player with a lot of game.
Darren Clark (7:52, first court)
Maybe I’m falling in love with the name recognition here as Clark is not in the top 10 on the Champions tour this season, but just take it as a guess.
Ernie Els (14:04, 10th court)
The Big Easy can still tee off (he’s the second longest driver on the Tour of Champions with nearly 294 yards) and knows all about stress (two wins at the US Open and two wins at the UK Open) .
Padraig Harrington (7:52 at first court)
He is a three-time world champion, having been runner-up three times in the last five Champions tournaments. It comes hot and that’s never a bad thing.
Jerry Kelly (8:34, first court)
One of the good guys on the Champions tour, worth watching for his comments alone. But he also knows how to play, he has a victory and third place this season.
Miguel Angel Jimenez (14:04 on the first court)
Still strong and enjoying his cigars, Jimenez has two wins and two third places in 11 Champion starts this season. This is smoking.
Stephen Alker (14:04 on 1st court)
If you follow champions, you know about this guy. He won the Senior PGA Championship last month and is the best player in the over 50s.
I’d love to see Kelly get his first Major and it would be great if Jimenez won, with his cigar and freestyle style reminding a lot of people here of legendary 1992 champion Larry Laoretti. But the nod here goes to the steady and straightforward Striker as your winner.
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