KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship - Final Round
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Sometimes, your putter needs to go into a timeout. That's what Richard Bland, 51, did to improve by 11 strokes from Saturday to Sunday, with his closing eight-under 63 good enough for a three-stroke victory in Benton Harbor to win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in his debut.

"I think I was just using a bit of scare tactics on my gamer," Bland said. "But I got here a little earlier this morning and did probably an hour on the putting green with my gamer just to sort of kick it up the backside so to speak, and fortunately it worked."

In his first KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores, Bland jumped out to two quick birdies to start his Sunday, making the turn at five-under for the round. After a three-putt bogey on the par-3 13th dropped him to 15 under, Bland saved a nine-foot par putt on the 14th to remain a stroke behind Greg Chalmers at 14 under.

Bland swung the championship his way from the fairway on the par-5 15th when he had 215 yards into the 514-yard hole.

"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."

Bland rolled in his eight-footer for eagle to take a one-shot lead over Chalmers with three to play. Bland parred the 16th and, with Chalmers's bogey, held a two-stroke lead with two holes remaining before a weather delay stopped play for an hour and 20 minutes. Instead of nerves building that the Englishman was two pars away from winning the championship, he spent time with friends talking football and how his team, Southhampton, earned their way back into the Premiership.

"Sometimes you think that you've got sort of the two pars to win a senior tournament you would be quite nervous," Bland said. "But it's amazing when you're actually in that position how calm you can be."

Bland returned to the par-3 17th and finished par-par, allowing himself to celebrate the victory once he had inches remaining on the 18th. Bland, who won the 2021 British Masters, took advantage of a special invitation for those who won on the European Tour in the previous five years. Bland could not use the exemption last year and emailed the PGA asking if he could do it for this week.

"I'm thankful for the PGA of America for that," Bland said. "Yeah, they might have my ugly mug around for a few more tournaments now."

His mind then turned to his older brother, Heath, who has been battling bowel cancer over the last year and was diagnosed with lung cancer last Thursday. All week, Bland's first victory over 50 was for his brother.

"I'm just so pleased that I could do this for him," Bland said. "Like I said, this doesn't feel like it's my tournament, it's his."

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