McCarron wins Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS
Edges Langer, who was aiming for four consecutive wins in the event
July 16, 2017
By The Associated Press
- Scott McCarron shot a 6-under 66 in the final round at Caves Valley Golf Club. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- For 70 holes, Bernhard Langer did everything necessary to win his fourth straight Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
Unfortunately, his performance at Caves Valley will be remembered only for what happened after that.
Langer's uncharacteristic slip on Nos. 17 and 18 paved the way for Scott McCarron to win his first major tournament on PGA TOUR Champions in sensational comeback fashion Sunday.
McCarron shot a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to make up a six-shot deficit and beat Langer and Brandt Jobe by a stroke.
"I've been working so hard for this," said McCarron, a 51-year-old Californian. "That was one of my goals this year, to win three events and one of them being a major. So I've got one more event to go."
McCarron's victory at the Allianz Championship in February wasn't nearly as exciting as this one, which came to fruition because Langer came apart just when it seemed he was well on his way to making history.
Seeking his third major win of the year, the 59-year German had a one-shot lead before dropping his tee shot in the water on No. 17. After taking the one-shot penalty, he missed a 4-footer and had to settle for a double bogey.
Playing in the twosome ahead of Langer and Jobe, McCarron didn't need to see the leaderboard to realize what happened.
"It wasn't until I heard the fans up there in the cheap seats when Langer hit it in the water did I know that I might have a chance," McCarron said.
On 18, Langer lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff.
"I thought I hit a really good putt," he said. "But the big issue was 17, hitting a horrible shot there and then missing for bogey. That was the killer."
He finished with a 73 that included only two birdies.
Scott McCarron's flawless win at Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS
Langer was trying to become the first player in the history of PGA TOUR Champions to win the same major four years in a row. The run began in 2014 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, continued in 2015 at the Belmont Country Club in Massachusetts and stayed alive last year at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
And now it's over.
"This is going to hurt for a little while because it was within my grasp to win the championship," Langer said. "All I had to do was come home in even par more or less. Twenty under would have done it. But it's easier said than done."
Langer started the day with a one-shot lead over Jobe, with McCarron a distant third at 12 under.
After Jobe birdied No. 1 to pull into a tie atop the leaderboard, Langer answered with birdies at Nos. 2 and 5 and went up by three shots when Jobe bogeyed 6.
But Langer didn't get another birdie the rest of the way. After his lamentable round was over, he looked back at what he did wrong -- rather than what put him in position to win.
"At 17, I hit it exactly where I didn't want to hit it -- in the water," Langer said. "Anywhere else, you know, left, short, long, you've got a chance. Out of the water, you don't. And I didn't make a putt all day."
McCarron got into contention with four straight birdies on the front nine. He finished with eight straight pars, which was good enough to earn him $420,000, his biggest payday on the 50-and-over tour.
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 66 to finish fourth at 16 under, and Steve Flesch (68) was fifth at 13 under.
Scott McCarron, 67-68-69-66 – 270 (-18)
• When McCarron tallied his sixth and final birdie of the day on No. 10, he trailed Langer by two strokes. He parred his final eight holes and posted 18-under-par while Langer and Jobe were putting on No. 17.
• When Langer made double bogey and Jobe made bogey on No. 17, McCarron was in the clubhouse with a one-shot lead. It was the first time McCarron led all day.
• McCarron's six-stroke, come-from-behind victory matches the tournament record. Raymond Floyd shot a final-round 66 and erased a six-shot deficit to win in 2000. The largest final-round comeback in a major came at the 2005 U.S. Senior Open, when Allen Doyle shot a final-round 63 and erased a nine-shot deficit to win.
• The win is McCarron’s first major victory and fourth win overall. He won the Allianz Championship in February by making a six-foot eagle putt on the final hole.
• This is McCarron’s sixth top-10 in 10 major starts, and his third top-five finish in a major this season. He also finished T2 at the Regions Tradition and T5 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Tournament Winner Notes
• This was just the second time in the last eight years that the 54-hole leader did not win this tournament. In 2013, Kenny Perry shot a final-round 64 to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot victory.
Bernhard Langer, 65-67-66-73 – 271 (-17)
• After he birdied Nos. 2 and 5, Langer led by two over Jobe and by four over McCarron. He did not make a birdie the rest of the day, and he played his final 13 holes in 3-over-par to finish with a final-round 73.
• He was 19-under and led by one with two holes to play, but he made double bogey on the par-3 17th after he hit his tee shot in the water. He had a chance to force a playoff, but his birdie putt on No. 18 lipped out.
• It’s his second straight over-par final round in a major. He shot 4-over 74 en route to a T18 finish at the U.S. Senior Open.
• It’s the second straight year he closed this tournament with a 73. In his last two final rounds at this tournament, Langer has made just two birdies against four bogeys and one double bogey.
• In major championships, he is now 6-for-10 in converting 36-hole leads into wins, and 7-for-13 in converting 54-hole leads into wins.
• He falls short in his bid to become the first player to win four consecutive majors on PGA TOUR Champions.
• The season's final major, The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex, will be played at Royal Porthcawl in Wales. The last time it was played there, Langer won by 13 shots in 2014.
• Langer leads the Schwab Cup standings by $661,531 over McCarron.
Brandt Jobe, 66-68-65-72 – 271 (-17)
• Jobe birdied No. 1 and pulled even with Langer, but he played the next five holes in 1-over and fell behind by three through six holes. He birdied No. 12 to get to 18-under, and he pulled within one when Langer bogeyed No. 13 and fell to 19-under.
• For the third time in four days, Jobe faltered on the par-3 17th hole. On Sunday, he pulled his tee shot left, away from the greenside water hazard, and into a bunker. He made a long putt to salvage a bogey and fall to 17-under, one shot behind McCarron. On the week, he was 4-over on No. 17.
• The T2 finish is his fourth top-10 in his last five starts, and it’s his best finish in a major. In this five-tournament span, he has risen from No. 22 to No. 5 in the Schwab Cup standings.
• His win at the Principal Charity Classic was his first PGA TOUR Champions victory and it was his first professional victory in nearly 19 years.
• His even-par 72 was his 30th consecutive round of par or better, the longest active streak on Tour.
• Fred Funk shot 67 on Sunday and finished T6 at 11-under. He is an alumnus and former golf coach at the University of Maryland, and he was born in Takoma Park, just 40 miles south of Caves Valley.
• Including his birdie-ace-birdie finish on Saturday, Funk played the last 21 holes in 8-under-par. On the week, he played Nos. 16-18 in 8-under. These three holes were the 13th, 2nd and 3rd most difficult for the event.
• Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a final-round 66 and posted a fourth-place finish, his seventh top-10 of the year.
• Steve Flesch was the last man in the field, as he gained entry Wednesday morning when Bart Bryant withdrew. In just his fifth start on PGA TOUR Champions, he carded a final-round 68 and finished fifth.