Manheim Township alum Jim Furyk set to defend senior open title

The Manheim Township graduate will defend his US Senior Open Championship in his home state.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Under cloud cover with the sun finding ways to pierce through the “swoosh” and “ping” of drivers launching tee shots to fairway targets filled the air at Saucon Valley Country Club on Tuesday for a pre-start practice round US Senior Open.

But that wasn’t the only activity at the club as players went fly fishing at Saucon Creek in their free time.

There was heat and humidity and Lancaster native Manheim Township native Jim Furyk on the Old Course in Saucon as the former Blue Streak prepared to defend his title.

Up until a few weeks ago, Furyk had never played at the Saucon Valley, although he’s always been aware of it.

The chance to tee it off so close to home got him excited.

“Just a few hours back to my home state from where I was born in Pennsylvania is going to be a lot of fun,” Furyk said with a smile from the media podium, right next to the club’s swimming pool.

On a day like this one might be tempted to go for a swim, but for Furyk the 2003 US Open champion greets fans between chips and putts.

One group loudly proclaimed that “the entire Pottsville Brigade” was behind him. By tournament time, many Lancaster area loyalists are expected to show up and be in the stands, which only adds to the pressure.

“It can go in one direction or the other,” says Furyk. “You can really enjoy the love and support and be in your home state, or you can push yourself too hard and let it go the other way. I’ll probably try to enjoy the week and have some fun with it and see some faces in the crowd that I don’t get to see very often.”

After last week’s US Open at The Country Club outside of Boston and now on a tough Old Course in Saucon, the defending Senior Open champion is both mentally and physically ready for the hustle and bustle.

“[The]The US Open takes a lot out of you, both physically and mentally. He won’t sneak up on me,” says Furyk with a smile. “I already went through it last week, it’s just about your game being in good shape to play well.”

Furyk’s title defense began on Thursday with an 8:34 start time.

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