Green, McKenzie secure Champions Tour cards
Aussie Richard Green has stormed his way onto the 2023 PGA Champions Tour in dramatic fashion posting an 18 under par, four round score of 266 at TPC Scottsdale to win by four shots and claim medallist honours at the Champions Tour Q-School in Arizona.
The 51-year-old Melbourne-born lefty, affectionately known as ‘Greeny’, capped his career early-on in denying major champions Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in a play-off to capture the 1997 Dubai Desert Classic and in the process becoming the first lefty since Kiwi Bob Charles in 1974 to win on the now-DP World Tour.
Richard Green and David McKenzie (Credit: PGA Tour)
Green recorded further DP World Tour wins at the 2007 BA-CA Open and the 2010 Portugal Masters while he gleaned success on home soil with victories at the 2004 Mastercard Masters and the 2015 Vic Open.
More recently, the Victorian brilliantly kick-started his over-50s career with back-to-back wins in June on the European Legends Tour.
“It means everything to me,” said a delighted Green, who finished with rounds of 68, 65, 68 and 65.
“I’ve had a long career playing overseas in Europe and I’ve wanted to always play in America. I tried my best to get a card on the PGA Tour in the 2000′s and just fell short all the time. It’s like a goal achieved, so that’s a big deal.”
He went into the fourth and final round sharing second place and a shot off the lead but soon stamped his authority with three birdies in succession from the second hole on the course that hosts the annual PGA Tour WM Phoenix Open.
Green dropped a shot at the fifth but got that back with a birdie on eight. He then parred holes nine to 14 ahead of finishing in superb manner with birdies at 15, 17 and the last for his six-under 65 for his 18-under victory tally.
Green had intended to tee-up at the Champions Tour Q-School in 2020 but that was before COVID-19 related travel restrictions were put in place.
He cruised through his First Stage site in Mesquite, Nevada, with a 21-under total, and a staggering 12 strokes clear of the field.
The leading five players earned their 2023 Champions Tour card so it means Green will be joined by fellow Aussie and Melbourne-born David McKenzie along with American trio of Wes Short Jnr, Tim O’Neal and Brian Cooper.
McKenzie shared third place overall at 13-under and in a closing round of 67 that included five birdies and a lone bogey.
Green and McKenzie were the lone Aussies in the 78-player field finishing first and T3, which is great end-of-year news for all Australian golf fans.
The 2023 PGA Tour Champions begins in February in Naples, Florida at the Chubb Classic.