Perry aims for quick study at Oak Tree National

Tue Jul 8, 2014 4:32pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Reigning champion Kenny Perry, the hottest player on the Champions Tour over the past year, is banking on Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma being a quick study as he prepares for this week's U.S. Senior Open.

The 53-year-old American will be bidding for his fourth seniors major victory when he launches his title defence in Thursday's opening round but he is a little apprehensive having never previously seen the par-71 layout.

"I am a little concerned this week," Perry told reporters at Oak Tree on Tuesday before setting off for an afternoon practice round. "I've never been here. This is the first time I've set foot on this property.

"I'm going to have to kind of learn this golf course really fast. I was able to do it in Omaha. Hopefully we can figure it out and get a good game plan, good course management ... go out there and try to defend the title."

Perry sensationally won last year's U.S. Senior Open in Omaha, Nebraska by five strokes with a closing 63, coming from 10 shots behind at the halfway mark of the tournament to claim a second successive senior major.

He had won his first major on the over-50s circuit two weeks earlier in the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh.

"That will be a summer I won't ever forget," said Perry, who went on to clinch a third consecutive seniors major at the Regions Tradition in May. "I shot some incredible rounds.

"To shoot 63-64 on the weekend ... I was 10 behind at one point in that tournament, and to be able to gather it all back in and win the golf tournament was pretty neat."

Perry has come close to replicating that form this season, having recorded six top-10s in 12 starts on the 2014 Champions Tour.   Continued...

Kenny Perry tees off on the 2nd hole prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Course No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.  Jun 10, 2014; Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports