Lancaster’s Jim Furyk appreciates fan support despite rain

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (WHTM) — The best golfer in Lancaster County history returns to Pennsylvania this week to defend his 2021 U.S. Senior Open title at Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course.

Jim Furyk is playing in the 2022 U.S. Senior Open in Bethlehem this week. It’s the first time the USGA has hosted the event in Pennsylvania since it was last at Saucon Valley in 2000.

Furyk is one of just eight golfers in history who have won the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open. He joins the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin, Billy Casper and Orville Moody in that accomplishment.

Playing in Thursday’s First Round, Furyk’s play was somewhat hampered by the constant rain and treacherous conditions.

“Just tough,” Furyk said of the conditions. “Tough to kind of hold onto the club, keep everything dry. We went out with three towels, and those were pretty much drenched through about seven holes. Just trying to keep things dry, hold onto the club.”

Furyk finished at an even par, which was good for a tie at third at the end of the morning rounds.

“I think four bogeys, four birdies,” Furyk said of his play. “I don’t know you were going to escape today with the weather and the golf course and some of the pin locations without making some bogeys. I was able to make four birdies and kind of cover those up.”

As the conditions dried up for the afternoon session, the scores began to dip. Australian golfer Mark Hensby led after the first round with a four-under.

“Felt good about some good saves today,” Furyk said. “It wasn’t my best round, but to get it in at 70 in those conditions never hurts you in a U.S. Open style. So we’ll see what the weather does this afternoon. If it lays down, I’d expect maybe some decent scoring, but even-par won’t kill me.”

Saucon Valley Country Club is just 74 miles from where Furyk went to high school at Manheim Township. He had friends and family in the crowd, as well as dozens of Midstate fans cheering him on.

“Coming back to this event as defending champion and also being in my home state, in kind of eastern PA, not far from where I grew up, as you said, is really kind of a cool feeling,” Furyk said. “I feel bad that this area has kind of anticipated this event probably for a couple years now, and then the first day we get, it’s pouring down rain.”

Despite the conditions, the turnout was impressive for the first day of competition. It caught the defending champs attention.

“I couldn’t hear a lot of claps there because everyone was holding on to their umbrella, right?” Furyk laughed. “I heard some cheers, and I expect with — actually, I thought the crowd was really quite good considering the weather. I was really impressed with the turnout.”

The U.S. Senior Open continues through the weekend with the final round on Sunday, June 26 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem.

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