[PHOTO: Brennan Asplen]

After inclement weather pushed the finish of the 44th US Senior Open into an extra day at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, the USGA announced that fans would not be allowed on property. But Richard Bland still managed to produce quite the roar from assorted media and USGA folks on hand on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita.

Bland, 51, trailed Fujita by three strokes with eight holes to play when played resumed at 8am on Monday, local time. After what could have been a back-breaking bogey at the par-3 13th, the Englishman made back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 to tie for the lead at 14-under. A Fujita bogey at the 14th soon after gave Bland the outright lead lead.

A bogey at the last for Bland meant he had to sit and wait at 13-under as Fujita finished up with a chance to win in regulation. Fujita’s birdie effort at the last narrowly missed, and he tapped in for par to tie Bland at 13-under, setting up a two-hole aggregate playoff. Australia’s Richard Green finished alone in third, three shots out of the playoff at 10-under.

Bland and Fujita tied the 10th and 18th holes and went to sudden death, where they tied on 18, twice.

After they both missed the 18th green on the third hole of sudden death, Fujita chipped his third on but it came up well short, leaving him with a lengthy par try. Bland, who had snap-hooked one into the left greenside bunker, proceeded to pull off one of the shots of his life:

Turns out, he did win the championship right there, as Fujita went on to miss his par putt, setting the stage for Bland’s tap-in for victory. He has now won back-to-back senior major championships, the last coming in May at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in Michigan.

“This is very special. Struggling to put it into words right now,” said Bland, a member of Cleeks GC on LIV Golf. “It was just a tough day, we were chasing [Fujita] all week. I think he had the lead pretty much wire-to-wire. I made a great birdie on 15 to go one in front, but kind of tried to trip over myself on the last. Just thankful to get into a playoff.

“To get this one as well, to go two-for-two, that’s beyond my wildest dreams.”

Bland was informed by NBC analyst Peter Jacobsen that he’s now part of some iconic history at Newport Country Club, where the likes of Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam have won USGA events before. Elite company.

“To be in that bracket is, um, I’m probably doing it a little disservice, to be honest with you,” he joked. “No, to be in that kind of bracket is very, very special. Something you can only dream of.”