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Tournament Highlights – U.S. Senior Open 2023

Tournament Highlight - U.S. Senior Open 2023
(Sentry/Katie Berdan Wolden)

Here are all the key details you need to know about what happened in the 2023 U.S. Senior Open, including how Bernhard Langer won and insights about the course.

Location

SentryWorld, Stevens Point, Wis.

Yardage

7,218; par 71

Tournament Record

261 – Steve Stricker (2019)

Purse

$4 million

Tournament Insight

The U.S. Senior Open is the national championship run by the United States Golf Association for golfers 50 and over. It is one of five senior majors. It has been played since 1980. The field consists of players exempt in various categories along with those who make it through qualifying held across the country (there were 33 sites in 2023). 

The event moves to a different course each year. In 2023, it was played for the first time at SentryWorld in central Wisconsin. 

Course Insight

SentryWorld is owned by Sentry Insurance, which has its headquarters nearby. The resort course, which is open to the public and features a new Inn, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 1982 and thoroughly remodeled by Jones and his associates in 2014. Some additional work was done in the years leading up to the Senior Open, with fairways narrowed, bunkering adjusted, and several new tees built. Known for outstanding conditioning, the parkland-style course hosted the U.S. Girls Junior in 2019 before hosting the world’s best seniors. It’s also known for the “flower hole” par-three 16th, which is surrounded by up to 30,000 colorful flowers. The 12th hole is another interesting par three, playing to a green set on a peninsula jutting into a lake. The water also comes into play all the way down the left side of the par-four 13th. 

How Bernhard Langer won in 2023

Bernhard Langer didn’t just win the 2023 U.S. Senior Open, he reached some major milestones along the way. The victory was his 46th on PGA TOUR Champions, breaking a tie with Hale Irwin to become the winningest senior ever. He also broke his own record as the oldest winner on PGA TOUR Champions, at 65 years, 10 months, 5 days, and extended his record for the most senior major titles with his 12th. It was his second win in the U.S. Senior Open, the other coming in 2010. After rounds of 71-68-68, Langer held the lead over a pair of Wisconsin natives, by two strokes over Jerry Kelly and three over Steve Stricker. Langer pulled away with birdies on the first two holes on Sunday and three of the first five, going on to lead by as many as seven strokes. While the outcome wasn’t in doubt down the stretch, bogeys on the last three holes left Langer with a 70 and a two-stroke victory margin over Stricker. 

  • Langer’s victory gave him the top five spots on the list of oldest winners of PGA TOUR Champions events and 13 victories since turning 60. He shattered the record as oldest winner of the U.S. Senior Open, previously 57-year-old Allen Doyle in 2006. 
  • Langer’s second U.S. Senior Open title made him the seventh multiple
  • champion of the event, joining three-time winner Miller Barber and two-time winners Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Allen Doyle, and Kenny Perry. 
  • Stricker was shooting for a third straight senior major title, having claimed the Regions Tradition and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship earlier in the year. He would later add a third 2023 senior major by claiming the Kaulig Companies Championship (the event formerly known as the Senior Players). 
  • Kelly has finished in the top 10 of the U.S. Senior Open five consecutive times, including runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019. 
  • Rob Labritz has played in two U.S. Senior Opens and finished T4 both times, in 2022 and 2023. 

This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.