Gary Nicklaus’ second go at competitive golf took another notable turn when he qualified for the U.S. Senior Open Friday at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla. The Senior Open begins June 27 at Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Jack Nicklaus’ son, Gary, whose own son GT was his caddie, birdied the final two holes to post a score of 70 that got him into a three-man playoff for one spot with Lance Ten Broeck and Don Bell. Gary won the playoff on the first extra hole.
“I am super excited about playing,” Nicklaus said. “I have been looking forward to this tournament all year. I had a chance earlier this week in New York to get into the U.S. Open and I failed to do so. To come back just a few days later and do this at my home course means a great deal. “I think the whole scene today was punctuated by being able to enjoy such a moment at my home club, with my son on the bag and my parents and friends there in the gallery. It was a great day and hopefully I can carry it over to the championship at Notre Dame. I never thought a Buckeye from Ohio State could be this happy about going to Notre Dame.”
Last summer, Nicklaus qualified for the U.S. Amateur. He turned professional for the second time in his career later that year. He has played in three PGA Tour Champions events.
“I have struggled with tendinitis in my left elbow, and to be honest it's been pretty annoying,” he said. “That, combined with limited starts on the PGA Tour Champions, have kept me from gaining any consistency and confidence in my game. But being able to birdie my last two holes to get into a playoff, and then to win the playoff against two very talented players, gives me some much-needed confidence and momentum.
“I’m pleased and excited for a number of reasons. I’ve always enjoyed the USGA championships, and the opportunities I have had to play in the U.S. Junior, U.S. Amateur, Mid-Am and the U.S. Open. Now I have earned a chance to play in the U.S. Senior Open in my first year of being eligible.”