By Oliver Lazenby
At his first ever U.S. Senior Open tournament, Blaine golfer Keith Henderson didn’t play as well as he expected. The competition was tough and the course, with its long drives, didn’t play to his strengths.
Despite finishing 149th out of 156 at the contest last weekend, at the Salem Country Club in Peabody, Massachusetts, Henderson savored every moment.
“It was an extremely positive experience that I will never forget,” he said. “It was really the best.”
A big part of that experience was playing in front of a crowd – something new for Henderson, who’s never competed outside the Northwest. He’s had butterflies and anxiety before past tournaments, but this time he felt composed.
“I found that when I was in an area with a large contingent of spectators, it was easier to focus,” Henderson said. “Feedback from the crowd was an adrenaline rush. The times I was able to please the crowd made the
Henderson doesn’t have the longest drive, and after playing the course he could tell that four or five long holes would challenge him. His short game saved him on those holes, he said, but he missed other putts and triple bogeyed the fifth hole in the first round.
He finished the first round seven over par and shot 11 over par in the second qualifying round, missing the cut for the final rounds.
Kenny Perry of Kentucky won the tournament with a 16-under-par score of 264 in four rounds.
Henderson, 53, is on the younger end of U.S. Senior Open golfers – players must be 50 or older to qualify. The tournament inspired him and he hopes to compete again, he said.
“As soon as I got home I was back at it,” he said. “We got home on Monday, and on Tuesday I got to the driving range at 8:30 a.m.”