A Year After Coming Up Short, Tiziani Advances to U.S. Senior Open

May 14, 2024 | 3 min.
By Nick Hunter

  BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Attempting to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open a year ago in his home state of Wisconsin, Mario Tiziani carded a 3-under 68 to finish two shots back of Tim Herron, who claimed the lone qualifying spot.

To make matters worse, Tiziani then fell in a playoff to Joel B. Johnson, who went on to earn an invitation to the championship at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis.

Tiziani reversed his fortune at Edinburgh USA Tuesday, holing out his approach on the final hole for eagle to card a 3-under 69 before dropping his birdie putt from 15 feet to win a playoff against Cameron Percy to earn medalist honors and a spot in the 2024 U.S. Senior Open June 27-30 at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I.

“U.S. Opens will expose you and tell you where you’re deficient, so I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Tiziani, who has claimed three top-20 finishes over his last five starts on the PGA Tour Champions this season. “I’ve been playing nicely and not necessarily getting a lot out of it.

“I was looking forward to today and hoping to get through. It’s another opportunity and I’d like to think I’m getting better all the time. I’m still learning at 53. I’m able to play with some hall-of-fame guys and pick their brain, which I was never able to do when I played the Tour for one year.”

Tiziani, winner of the 2021 Minnesota and Wisconsin Senior Opens, started his round by converting a short birdie chance on the par-5 first, following it by making birdie at the next two par-5’s on the front side to turn in 3-under.

Failing to get up-and-down to save par at the 11th gave Tiziani his first bogey of the round, and he would drop to 1-under following a three-putt bogey at the par-3 16th.

Hitting his second from a fairway divot at the last, Tiziani watched his ball roll near the hole before it disappeared.

“I was more concerned with contact,” Tiziani said after getting an unfortunate break with his 3-wood from the 18th tee. “I thought it might’ve gone it, but it was hard to see. When I got up there, I didn’t see a ball.”

A 3-under 69 put Tiziani in a share of the lead with Percy before prevailing on the first playoff hole.

“I played nice today and was able to make a few birdies early on the front side,” Tiziani said after qualifying Tuesday. “They were all pretty close tap-ins. I played solidly and hit a lot of good. I’ve been working hard, so it’s nice to see it pay off.”

Since returning to the professional ranks and joining the PGA Tour Champions in 2020, Tiziani has made 44 appearances and tallied three top-10 finishes to claim more than $903,000 in earnings.

A native of Madison, Wis., Tiziani played collegiate golf at the University of Wisconsin prior to earning his PGA Tour card in 2005. That season, Tiziani started 23 events, making 11 cuts with one top-25 finish to earn more than $181,000 in winnings.

Earning his first two wins as a professional in 2002 at the Wisconsin State Open and the Panasonic Panama Open, Tiziani claimed his third win at the Northern Ontario Open the following season.

He earned a spot in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, shooting 80-79 to miss the weekend cut. Tiger Woods claimed his first of his three U.S. Open titles that season, running away from the field with a 15-stroke victory.

Advancing to the U.S. Open two seasons later at Bethpage Black, Tiziani shot 76-80 to miss the cut once again—a tournament Woods won by three strokes over Phil Mickelson.

Newport Country Club plays host to the U.S. Senior Open for the first time in its 131-year history.

The club previously held two U.S. Amateur Championships (1895, 1995), a U.S. Open (1895), and the U.S. Women’s Open (2006).

Last season, German Berhard Langer became the oldest winner of the U.S. Senior Open by eight years, defeating Tiziani's brother-in-law, Steve Stricker, by two strokes at SentryWorld.

 

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Nick Hunter

Nick Hunter got his start covering sports for the Mankato Free Press while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

He then contributed to several online outlets, including Bleacher Report, prior to turning his focus to golf.

Hunter enters his 12th season covering golf in Minnesota as news editor for the MGA website. He resides in New Prague with his wife and two sons.

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