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Newport Country Club set to welcome 44th U.S. Senior Open golf; what to know

NEWPORT – Billy Andrade tried to resist the cliché, and he just about did it.

You’ll forgive the Rhode Island native a bit of sentiment with a return to his home state coming next month. Brett Quigley will carry the same feelings into the 44th U.S. Senior Open, which is set for Newport Country Club.

The majority of the event’s planning stages have come and gone. June 27 will mark the beginning of the fifth national championship to be contested on these hallowed grounds, the first since Annika Sorenstam prevailed in a playoff at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2006.

Ben Kimball, left, USGA Senior Open Championship director, former Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, honorary chairman of the 2024 tournament, and USGA staffer Hank Thompson at Media Day on Tuesday in Newport.
Ben Kimball, left, USGA Senior Open Championship director, former Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, honorary chairman of the 2024 tournament, and USGA staffer Hank Thompson at Media Day on Tuesday in Newport.

“The catch phrase is it’s a dream come true – I'm too old for that,” Andrade said. “I just think it will be the funnest thing I’ve done in a great career.”

The USGA held a formal media gathering Tuesday at the Newport Marriott – featuring former Red Sox manager Terry Francona as the honorary chair of the tournament, and the golf course was open for play in the afternoon. Morning fog gave way to milky sunshine and comfortable temperatures – four afternoons like this would be ideal to show off the 7,070-yard seaside layout. Ron Forse’s latest restoration in 2005 added a couple of subtle touches to one of the USGA’s founding clubs, a gem that dates to the original nine holes crafted by William F. Davis in 1894.

More: Some of the world's best golfers will be in Newport next summer, for the U.S. Senior Open

“Needless to say, we’re excited about bringing the Senior Open – senior golf’s premier championship – back to the Ocean State,” said Ben Kimball, the USGA’s senior director of championships. “We intend for this to be the toughest test of golf these players will face all year.”

Andrade secured his place in the 156-player field thanks to his finish in last season’s Charles Schwab Cup, the official money list on the PGA Tour Champions. Quigley received a return invitation thanks to his top-five finish in last year’s event at SentryWorld, one that came thanks to a sizzling 66 in the final round. It will be the ninth trip to the event for Andrade and the fourth for Quigley, but this one is guaranteed to be unlike the rest.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Quigley said. “It’s always nice to play in front of your home crowd.”

Quigley joked he’d asked for 1,000 tickets ahead of the opening Thursday round. He'd rather be forced to allocate such an amount on the closing Sunday. Bernhard Langer is the defending champion after holding off a pair of Wisconsin natives last year. He beat Steve Stricker by two strokes and Jerry Kelly by three while playing in their home state, one of 46 senior victories for the peerless German.

“If you win a U.S. Open or a U.S. Senior Open, you’ve beaten the best every day,” Langer said. “Everybody plays. You have beaten a great golf course as well.”

The last two champions here have been Hall-of-Fame caliber. Sorenstam closed out a wet week with an 18-hole Monday march past Pat Hurst. Tiger Woods was the U.S. Amateur champion in 1995, outlasting Buddy Marucci in a compelling 36-hole final. The firm, dry conditions that week were the preference of links-minded traditionalists.

Boston Bruins great Ray Bourque at Media Day for the 2024 U.S. Senior Open in Newport on Tuesday.
Boston Bruins great Ray Bourque at Media Day for the 2024 U.S. Senior Open in Newport on Tuesday.

“We have to be nimble in how we operate and manage our setup,” Kimball said. “Mother Nature just has a bigger hand in how we set up this golf course, and we’re certainly going to listen to her when she comes calling.”

COVID-19 forced the cancelation of this event in 2020, and club officials immediately sought a replacement date. Newport president Barclay Douglas Jr. sent another formal invitation to the USGA asking for its return, and this is one of 10 sites currently booked through 2042. Each of the next seven host clubs have already been announced, with Spyglass Hill set to welcome the 50th Senior Open to California in 2030.

“How much longer am I going to play?” Andrade said. “Having this opportunity to play at home, to play at Newport – it's a place that I love.”

bkoch@providencejournal.com

On X: @BillKoch25

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Locals Billy Andrade and Brett Quigley will play in U.S. Senior Open