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Bernhard Langer wins U.S. Senior Open for record 46th PGA TOUR Champions title

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STEVENS POINT, WISCONSIN - JULY 02: Bernhard Langer of Germany reacts after a birdie on the second green during the final round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship at SentryWorld on July 02, 2023 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

STEVENS POINT, WISCONSIN - JULY 02: Bernhard Langer of Germany reacts after a birdie on the second green during the final round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship at SentryWorld on July 02, 2023 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)



    Written by Bob McClellan @ChampionsTour

    Bernhard Langer wasn’t particularly interested in any hometown-guy-makes good storylines at the U.S. Senior Open in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

    He was busy writing more history.

    Entering the day at 6 under with a two-shot lead over Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly and a three-shot lead over Wisconsin native Steve Stricker, Langer birdied the first two holes and three of the first five and never looked back. He led by as much as seven and finished at 7-under par to claim his 46th victory since turning 50, making him the winningest player in PGA TOUR Champions history.

    Langer, 65, had been tied with Hale Irwin since Feb. 19, when he won the Chubb Classic for a record fifth time. He also became the oldest player to win on PGA TOUR Champions, rewriting his own record for the fifth time. The victory also marked his 12th senior major title, extending his own record.


    Bernhard Langer's record 46 victories on PGA TOUR Champions


    “It feels awesome,” Langer said. “It's been a long time coming, but very, very happy. Never thought it would happen at a U.S. Senior Open, but I'm very thrilled that the record of 46 wins happened this week.

    “It's certainly one of the greatest tournaments we ever compete in, and to beat this field, where everybody was here, especially Stricker and Kelly on their home grounds, is a very special feeling. Very grateful.”

    Stricker, 56, shot a 2-under 69 in the final round to finish alone in second at 5 under. Stricker was looking to become the first player in PGA TOUR Champions history to win the first three majors of a season, after claiming the titles at the Regions Tradition and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

    “I just didn't get off to the start I needed to get off to today,” said Stricker, who widened his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. “I was really excited to get out there and play. I was feeling good.

    “I just didn't hit very many quality shots to start with. Drove it well at the first hole and hit kind of a mediocre 7-iron. My tempo seemed a little off. I was a little quick just because I guess I was so excited, I felt like I had a good round in me. Just didn't hit some good shots.”

    Kelly, 56, shot even-par 71 to finish third. It was his fifth consecutive top-10 at the U.S. Senior Open.

    “I didn't have much of a swing or a putting touch all day,” Kelly said. “I don't think I had the best luck with three divots and a plugged lie, but I put myself there, so you can't argue with it. I just didn't play well.

    “I wanted to do the same things. As the pressure heightened, I guess nature kind of took over. I've been nurturing a new move and a new swing. It felt great the first three days, and nature kind of took its course a little bit. I got stuck behind most of my shots, which didn't feel the best.”

    Kelly and Stricker both took time to marvel at Langer and his longevity. Kelly played in the final twosome with the German legend.

    “I'm proud of the way I battled again, but having a front row seat to 45 (Kelly was in the final threesome at the Chubb with Langer and Steven Alker) and 46 as a really good friend of Bernhard's, that was special,” Kelly said. “He can retire now.”

    Langer finished the event at SentryWorld as the leader in fairways hit and greens in regulation.

    “It's amazing, isn't it? Yeah, all-time win record, and now 12 majors,” Stricker said. “He's going strong at -- what is he, 65 or 66? Sixty-five. It gives all of us hope, I guess, that are out here still playing that we can continue to play as good as he's played for such a long time. It's really impressive.

    “I knew he wasn't going to back off today, and that's why I thought I needed to shoot a 5-under round, get it to 8 or 7 or something like that. And he didn't. He came out strong and made some birdies and got it to 10 really quick. I don't know what he birdied, but he got it to 10 really quick.”

    Langer bogeyed 16, 17 and 18, but he had built enough of a cushion that it didn’t matter.

    “I knew it was going to be a tough day just because Steve Stricker has been in top form,” Langer said. “He's winning basically every time he tees up or thereabouts. I knew he would want to have his streak going of three majors in a row, and I knew he was going to give it his all. The same with Jerry Kelly. He's one of the best ball strikers, very underrated golfer. I knew he would do well because he is one of the straightest hitters. The key this week, I think, was hitting the fairways. If you could keep it out of the cabbage, you had a chance.

    “I think that's one of the reasons I did so well. I didn't hit it in the rough very often. Took many 3-woods off the tees at times, but then I had to hit 3-wood into the green or a very long club. But I'd rather do that than hit driver and wedge it out from the rough.”


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