Langer wins The Senior Open Championship
Three-shot victory earns German legend 10th senior major title and third of 2017
July 30, 2017
By The Associated Press
- Bernhard Langer shot a 1-over 72 at Royal Porthcawl on Sunday to claim the major championship. (Phil Inglis/Getty Images)
BRIDGEND, Wales (AP) -- Bernhard Langer won The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex on Sunday in rain and wind at Royal Porthcawl for his record-extending 10th senior major title and fifth in the last 10.
Fighting a sore throat all week in the difficult weather conditions, the 59-year-old German star closed with a 1-over 72 to finish at 4-under 280 and beat Corey Pavin by three strokes.
"Wasn't 100 percent," Langer said. "Makes it even more meaningful."
Langer joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win three senior majors in a season, and won the event for the third time to match the tournament record.
"It's pretty neat to do something that nobody else has done before," Langer said. "Like winning 10 senior majors, it's not easily done. There's a lot of competition out there. Very blessed and honored to have achieved that. Maybe there's one or two more in the future, who knows? But right now, I'm just going to enjoy the fruit of the labor, and to have won three majors in one season is pretty spectacular, and it actually could have been four if I didn't mess up two weeks ago (at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship)."
Langer won the Regions Tradition and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship -- the first two of the PGA TOUR Champions' five majors -- in consecutive weeks in May. He finished second behind Scott McCarron at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, losing the lead with a double bogey on the 71st hole. Nicklaus won three of the then-four majors in 1991.
Langer also won The Senior Open in 2010 at Carnoustie and took the 2014 event at Royal Porthcawl by 13 strokes. Tom Watson and Gary Player are the only other three-time winners of the championship, with Player's titles coming before the event was a major or part of the PGA TOUR Champions.
"We all know what great players those two are, especially Tom has maybe the best links course record of anybody," Langer said. "He's one of the best wind players that I've seen, maybe the best. And we all know what Gary Player has achieved in his career."
Langer also won the season-opening event in Hawaii in January and has 33 PGA TOUR Champions titles. He's second on the career victory list, 12 behind Hale Irwin.
"We just keep working at our game and you learn from your mistakes," Langer said. "I have a very good team around me with my coach, Willy Hoffman; my caddie, Terry Holt; my family who supports me; my brother who is my manager; and I'm reasonably healthy where I don't have any restraints there. All of that combined, I'm a competitive guy. I'd like to do well, whatever I do. I work hard at it and expect a lot."
The two-time Masters champion opened with a 69 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead, dropped into a five-way tie for first Friday with a 74 in the most difficult conditions of the week, and shot a 65 on Saturday to open a four-stroke advantage
"It was survival out there," Langer said. "I don't know how much you guys went out there when the rain came sideways... When you're this close to the coast, there's nothing to protect that wind for 30, 50 miles out there. ... The clubs I was hitting at times was ridiculous. For an 8-iron distance, I would hit 3-iron, and that's not even straight into the wind. It's just very difficult to comprehend."
Pavin closed with a 71.
"It's pretty incredible his run on the PGA TOUR Champions in general, but you look at his whole career, it's amazing," Pavin said about Langer. "He's been playing exceptional golf. He's always going to be tough. He rarely beats himself. I know he did a couple weeks ago, but it doesn't happen very often."
Fred Couples had a 68 to tie for third at even par with Billy Andrade (68) and Australia's Peter Lonard (71). The 67-year-old Watson, a day after shooting his age, had a 75 to tie for 23rd at 7 over.
Bernhard Langer, 69-74-65-72 – 280 (-4)
• This is Langer's third Senior Open Championship victory. He also won by one over Corey Pavin at Carnoustie in 2010, and he won by 13 over Colin Montgomerie here at Royal Porthcawl in 2014. Langer joins Tom Watson (2003, 2005, 2007) and Gary Player (1988, 1990, 1997) as the only three-time winners of The Senior Open. Player's three victories occurred before 2003, when The Senior Open was first classified as an official tournament on PGA TOUR Champions.
• Langer has won five of the last 10 majors on PGA TOUR Champions, including three this season. Jack Nicklaus is the only other player to win three majors in a season, as he won three of the four majors in 1991 (Regions Tradition, KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open).
• The win is Langer's 10th major victory, and it comes at the age of 59 years, 11 months, 3 days. Five of his major victories have come since he turned 58 on August 27, 2015. Since PGA TOUR Champions was founded in 1980, only three other players have won an official senior major at age 58 or older: Tom Watson, Hale Irwin and John Jacobs.
• It is Langer's 33rd win on PGA TOUR Champions, and he is 12 behind Hale Irwin's all-time record of 45 wins.
o In non-majors, he has won 23 of 152 starts (15.13%)
o In majors, he has won 10 of 48 starts (20.83%)
o In all, he has won 33 of 200 starts (16.50%)
• He was a leader/co-leader after 10 of the 20 rounds at majors this season, and the U.S. Senior Open is the only major he didn't lead at some point. In his career, Langer has led/co-led after 42 of 192 rounds (21.88%) in senior majors. His highest rate comes at The Senior Open Championship, where he has led after 17 of 40 rounds (42.50%). His Senior Open record includes three wins and nine top-10 finishes in 10 starts, and his worst finish was a tie for 12th in 2011.
• With the win, Langer earns an invitation to play in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie, site of his first Senior Open Championship win in 2010.
Tournament Winner Notes
• Since 2003, the third-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex eight of 15 times: Bernhard Langer (2017, 2014, 2010), Marco Dawson (2015), Russ Cochran (2011), Loren Roberts (2006), Tom Watson (2005) and Pete Oakley (2004).
• Langer’s victory breaks the streak of six straight majors where the 54-hole leader failed to win.
• For the eighth straight major, the 54-hole leader failed to break 70 in the final round. On two occasions, the 54-hole leader still went on to win. In addition to today's 1-over 72 by Langer, he also won the 2016 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship despite shooting 75 on Sunday.
• Only five players finished under-par when Royal Porthcawl last hosted The Senior Open in 2014. This year, Langer and Corey Pavin were the only two players to finish under-par.
Corey Pavin, 73-74-65-71 – 283 (-1)
• Today was the second time Pavin played with Langer in Sunday's final game at The Senior Open, and in both cases his 54-hole deficit was too much to overcome. In 2010, he lost by one despite beating Langer in the final round, 70-72. This year, he lost by three despite beating Langer in the final round, 71-72.
• This is Pavin's fourth top-three finish in six starts at The Senior Open. He was runner-up to Langer in 2010 and 2017, and he finished T3 in 2011 and 2013. Overall, this is his 10th top-10 in a PGA TOUR Champions major.
• This is his third top-15 in the last four starts, and his first top-10 in an individual stroke play tournament since a T10 finish at the 2016 Allianz Championship. Earlier this year, he teamed up with Duffy Waldorf and finished second at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge.
• He missed the better part of the 2016 season due to a torn tendon in his right elbow. His last event of 2016 was the Insperity Invitational in May, and his first event after surgery was in March 2017 at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic.
Other Scoring and Player Notes
• After being T29 at 8-over through 36 holes, Fred Couples closed with rounds of 66-68, and his 8-under-par weekend was best in the field. He finished at even-par and tied for third, his eighth top-10 of the season. It is his third top-five finish in five starts at The Senior Open (T5, 2015; win, 2012).
• Billy Andrade was 4-under through 13 holes and pulled to within three strokes of Langer. He was unable to draw any closer, and he finished the day 3-under and was one of four scores of 68 on Sunday.
• This is Andrade's second T3 finish in a major this season. He also tied for third at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. It is his second straight top-10 at The Senior Open, as he finished T9 last year.
• Australia’s Peter Lonard was the third player in the final game, and he pulled to within three of the lead with a birdie on No. 8. He played the final 10 holes in 1-over and finished T3 at even-par. This was Lonard’s senior debut, as he turned 50 on July 17, 2017.
• Defending champion Paul Broadhurst carded a final-round 73 and finished T15 at 6-over.
• Four players from Wales made the cut. Phillip Price shot a final-round 70 and finished T6 at 1-over, and he was followed by Mark Mouland (T31, 9-over), Ian Woosnam (T45, 12-over) and Stephen Dodd (T61, 15-over).
• Australia’s David McKenzie aced the 127-yard eighth hole. It was the second hole-in-one on No. 8 this week, and it was the 15th ace this season and the 14th in tournament history.
• There were 11 rounds under-par Sunday, bringing the weekend total to 54. Only four rounds under-par were recorded in the first two rounds.