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Kenny Perry worn down after playing in U.S. Open golf tournament

Kenny Perry hits a tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the Encompass Championship golf tournament in Glenview, Ill., Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Kenny Perry hits a tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the Encompass Championship golf tournament in Glenview, Ill., Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

GLENVIEW — Kenny Perry was in perfect scoring position on the par-5 16th hole Friday at North Shore Country Club.

He was about 100 yards away for his third shot and had a wedge in his hands. But Perry hit too far behind his ball, and it landed short of the green in the bunker. Although he managed to make par, it was a missed opportunity for birdie.

On the 18th hole, Perry three-putted for bogey to shoot a 1-under 71, which was well back of the leading pace at the Champions Tour’s Encompass Championship.

Perry said the two holes were examples of exhaustion, a result of playing four rounds last week at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. The 53-year-old had arguably the shot of the tournament when he holed out of the native rough area for an eagle on the 14th and he tied for 28th at the national championship.

“It’s so over the top, and you burn up so much mental energy that it fatigues you,” said Perry, who’s playing his 11th Champions Tour event of the season this week in Glenview.

The U.S. Open was Perry’s fourth PGA Tour tournament this year, and it was the first time he survived the cut. Perry has won 14 times and earned almost $32 million on the PGA Tour, but he said this is the last year he will play on both tours.

Since 2011, his first full season on the Champions Tour, Perry hasn’t recorded a top 10 on the PGA Tour.

Perry said the PGA Championship in August at Valhalla Golf Club in his home state of Kentucky will be his final PGA Tour event. His fully-exempt status on the PGA Tour runs out after this year.

“I’m trying to say goodbye,” Perry said. “I’m trying to focus on the Champions Tour.”

Tom Lehman, 55, knows the challenges of playing both tours during the same season. He said he tried to do it early in his Champions Tour career and received mixed results.

“You are kind of in no man’s land,” he said. “Guys are better off committing to one tour. I know Kenny Perry has tried going both directions, but it’s difficult for him. He’s committed out here now, and he’s doing great.”

Perry has finished first six times, including victories at two major championships, on the senior circuit. Perry won last month at the Regions Tradition, and he came into this week fourth in the Charles Schwab Cup rankings.

“It went OK [today],” Perry said. “I’m just tired. Last week was a big drain on me, lot of pressure. I had trouble getting going [today]. I was behind the 8-ball all day.”

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