Bernhard Langer, 65, wins TimberTech for 44th PGA TOUR Champions title
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Breaks record as oldest PGA TOUR-sanctioned winner, now one back of Hale Irwin's record 45 titles
Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour
Age is just another number … for Bernhard Langer to both take aim at and ignore.
A day after shooting two strokes below his age, Langer, 65, broke his own record as the oldest player to win on PGA TOUR Champions and in doing so closed within one victory of Hale Irwin’s all-time Champions Tour record of 45.
Langer shot a 66 on Sunday in the final round of the TimberTech Championship at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, to finish at 17 under, six strokes ahead of Paul Goydos and Thongchai Jaidee. It was his third victory at the TimberTech, and of course he makes his home in Boca Raton.
“It’s always awesome to win anywhere in the world, but to win in your hometown in front of family, friends is that much more meaningful and special because I have a lot of supporters out there and it’s great just to be at home, sleep in your own bed, get some home cooking,” Langer said. “We travel all year all over the place, so it’s very nice to have a tournament at home.”
Langer, who hadn’t won since the Chubb Classic in February, played mistake-free golf -- six birdies and no bogeys. Goydos birdied No. 1 to tie Langer, but the German birdied the fourth to regain his lead. The margin moved to three when Goydos double-bogeyed the fifth, and no one else got closer than that.
“I kind of got off to a good start and kind of made a mess of the fifth hole and just was unable to put even remotely any pressure on him,” Goydos said. “I get that Thongchai played well and (Padraig) Harrington did, but they were so far back, they never they were putting pressure on me, not putting pressure on Bernhard. So it was kind of up to me to put pressure on him and I never did.”
Langer’s 66 was the lowest round on Sunday by one stroke. His 63 was the lowest round on Saturday by three strokes and the course record.
“Actually, I hit the ball really well even on the first day, but didn’t make many putts,” Langer said. “Then the second day I just rolled them in from all over the place, holed a bunker shot. And today I played very solid, hit a couple of irons very close, tap-in birdies basically and played almost flawless golf to the point where I just didn’t put myself into any trouble and always kept my nose ahead.”
Langer moved from seventh to fifth in the Schwab Cup standings. Steven Alker, the leader in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup, maintained a healthy lead after he tied for sixth at the TimberTech. Harrington, Alker’s nearest pursuer, shot 67 on Sunday to finish solo fourth.
“This is certainly not a golf course that builds confidence for me, but today I pulled a muscle in my neck before I went out, so I was in a lot of trouble out there, couldn’t really complete my backswing,” Harrington said. “You know, I wouldn’t say I was in a lot of pain, but it was a lot of discomfort that made it awkward and difficult.
“So it was again a bit like yesterday, it was all hands to deck and just dig deep and try and get on with it. But it’s never … I used to lose one in three weeks to injury back in the day and done a lot of good work on my neck, so this is only the second time this year it’s popped up. I just pulled a muscle hitting a 5-iron on the range. Yeah, I managed to get around because I’ve done it before and hopefully, as I said, next couple of days it will clear itself up.”
The top 36 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings after Sunday advanced to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix that starts on Thursday. John Huston’s tie for eighth at the TimberTech moved him from outside the line to the last man in.
It will mark the first appearance in the season finale for Huston, 61, since his rookie season in 2011.