Notes: Langer mirrors Kaymer on Champions Tour
July 12, 2014
By Champions Tour staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Bernhard Langer ranks T2 in greens in regulation this week, hitting an average of 74.1 percent. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
With double points available in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race for the winner, Bernhard Langer could open up a very comfortable lead with a win at the U.S. Senior Open Championship or another player could climb right into the chase for the $1 million annuity that goes to the winner of the Cup.
Langer leads with 2,362 points and is 882 in front of Jay Haas, who had to withdraw earlier this week. Colin Montgomerie is third with 1,283 points. Kenny Perry (1,232) and Jeff Sluman (1,067) are fourth and fifth, respectively.
A victory by Langer on Sunday would give him two consecutive major championship titles. He won the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago in a playoff with Jeff Sluman at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh. It would also be his second U.S. Senior Open victory to go with his win in 2010.
The last player to win two straight majors was Kenny Perry a year ago at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the U.S. Senior Open. Perry later added a third straight when he won the Regions Tradition this year.
A victory would also be Langer’s fourth major title on the Champions Tour to go along with the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex and the 2014 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. He’d join Lee Trevino, Loren Roberts, Allen Doyle and Raymond Floyd with four major victories on the Champions Tour.
Langer could also duplicate his fellow countryman Martin Kaymer with a win here. Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst on the PGA TOUR last month. Two weeks ago Langer won the SENIOR PLAYERS matching Kaymer’s victory in THE PLAYERS Championship on the PGA TOUR.
Although he trailed by five strokes at one point early in the round, the deficit didn’t seem to bother Gene Sauers. The Savannah, Georgia, resident rebounded from a bogey at No. 1 to play bogey-free over his final 17 holes and now owns a three-stroke margin over Bernhard Langer and Scott Dunlap. Colin Montgomerie, the 36-hole leader, trails by four.
A three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Sauers birdied two of his last three holes and took the lead with a birdie putt of less than a foot at No. 16 and then added a 6-footer at No. 18 to close out his round of 3-under-par 68.
Montgomerie led by as much as four strokes on the front nine, getting to 8-under-par after four holes, but dropped five strokes over his next 10 holes to squander his lead. As many as five different players led or shared the lead before Sauers took control with his birdie at No. 16.
Sauers has led a Champions Tour event just one time going into the final round at the 2013 Insperity Invitational where he and Mike Goodes finished T2, losing in a playoff to Esteban Toledo. He won three of seven events when he was leading after 54 holes on the PGA TOUR.
Gene Sauers is bidding for his first win on Tour since winning the 2002 Air Canada Championship near Vancouver.
Sauers would also become the sixth player to make the U.S. Senior Open his first win on the Champions Tour. He’d join Roberto DeVicenzo (1980), Larry Laoretti (1992), Don Pooley (2002), Peter Jacobsen (2004) and Olin Browne (2011).
Should Colin Montgomerie rebound from his 3-over-par 74 on Saturday and prevail on Sunday, he’d duplicate a feat that Roger Chapman achieved in 2012.
Chapman’s first two wins on the Champions Tour came in major championships and Montgomerie would match Chapman’s wins at the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open.
He’d also be the first player to win consecutive major titles since Kenny Perry won the 2013 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and 2013 U.S. Senior Opens.
News/Notes going into the final round
• Only three players finished with rounds under par today – Gene Sauers (68), Peter Senior (68) and Marco Dawson (69). Dawson appeared on his way to the day’s low round, but finished with three straight bogeys after tying for the lead with a birdie at 15.
• The winner on Sunday earns a berth in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington.
• Prior to Roger Chapman winning the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open in the same year, the last to do so was Hale Irwin in 1998. Only two others have done so -- Jack Nicklaus in 1991 and Gary Player in 1988.
• So far in 2014, leaders/co-leaders heading into the final round have claimed nine of the first 13 events. In fact, the 54-hole leader has won all three 72-hole events on the Champions Tour this year.
• Woody Austin continues his climb up the leaderboard. Austin, who is playing in his first Champions Tour event, shot a 71 today and is now T8. He was T28 after the opening round and T 13 after the second. Kevin Sutherland, the other player making his debut, is now T41.
• After successive 73s in his first two rounds, Peter Senior rebounded with a bogey-free 3-under-par 68 on Saturday. It allowed him to move up from T33 to 10 and he shared honors for the day’s best round with Gene Sauers.
• Gary Player and Fred Funk hold the U.S. Senior Open record for the largest victory margin. Player recorded a six-stroke victory over Doug Sanders at Brooklawn Country Club (Fairfield, CT) in 1987 while Funk’s final-round 65 in 2011 allowed him to cruise to a six-shot triumph over Joey Sindelar.
• Jeff Wilson, one of two amateurs to make the cut, is T29, while Mike McCoy is T33. The highest-finishing amateur earns a spot in next year’s event.
• The 469-yard, par-4 third hole remained the most difficult through three rounds with an average score of 4.456. The hole has yielded just 23 birdies through three rounds. Russ Cochran and Colin Montgomerie have each birdied it twice.