Langer conquers all at Sahalee
Bernhard Langer took on highly accomplished Fred Couples and his fiercely partisan gallery to win the US Senior Open on Sunday.
Bernhard Langer took on both the highly accomplished Fred Couples as well as his fiercely supportive American gallery to win the US Senior Open in Seattle on Sunday.
And this just a week after Germany’s greatest-ever golfer had won the British Senior Open
Shrugging aside the partisan crowd who made no secret that they were backing Seattle’s home-bred favourite in a head-on Ryder Cup type battle, Langer shot a bogey-free, 3-under 67 to Couple’s level-par 70 at Sahalee Country Club that was more than enough to see him through to his back-to-back senior major triumph.
“It’s never much fun, but I’ve had it before,”said The US-based German of the one-sided crowd he had had to face throughout the day.
“When you play in the same group with Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer or any of the big names in America, certainly the Ryder Cups – I’ve played 10, five on American soil – you get a lot more of this, so I knew what was coming.”
Langer’s victory makes him the first German to win any championship organised by the USGA and the first Champions Tour player to win back-to-back majors since Tom Watson did it at the Senior British Open and JELD-WEN Tradition in 2003.
Watson, though, had the advantage of being the crowd favourite in both majors, not their No 1 enemy.
“They were definitely against me and for Freddy,” Langer said.
Couples who won three of his first four Champions Tour events at the start of the 2010 Tour, will once again be feeling some disappointment at letting slip a major in the city where he grew up.
At the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee, a poor first round cost him the chance of winning and left him in 13th place at the finish.
This time a birdie at the first on Sunday put him into a confidence-boosting lead – until he played the fatal second.
The hole, a par five of 503 yards, was ranked the easiest on the course this week, but for the first time in four days Couples decided to play it safe and lay up after landing his drive in the rough.
The lay up left him about 65 yards from the pin. All was well so far, but then disaster. He chunked his approach and saw his ball splash down in the water guarding the green.
“It was a pretty easy shot,” Couples sadly remembered when he looked back.
The popular Couples made things worse when he over-flew the green with his fifth shot and then took a chip and two putts to take a triple bogey to the third, his one shot lead, now a three-shot deficit.
In effect, it ended his challenge. The rock-steady Langer would never let him get back in the race.
“When I birdied the first hole, that was what I thought I needed to get going,” Couples said. “And then about 12 minutes later I was looking for a hole to crawl in.”
Clearly shaken, his putts stopped dropping and it didn’t help his cause that he missed birdie chances at every hole between the 4th and 13th holes.
He finally made birdie at the 14th – from the fringe – to close within three and nailed another birdie putt from 25 feet at 16 to raise hopes of a late charge.
But Langer, who was bogey free in 44 of his final 45 holes was in no mood to give anything away.
“I never had the tee. He was up first all day. He hit it down the middle of every fairway,” Couples said. “As I told him, he played eight great rounds here and at the British Seniors and that is tough to do.”
Langer did have some luck when one his tee shots was hooked into the multitude of trees that line the fairways of Sahalee, but incredibly, instead of dumping itself into some serious rough among the trees or kicking out of bounds, his ball magically deflected into the middle of the fairway – and raised a huge collective sigh from the Couples’ supporters!
Couples, also the runner-up at the Senior PGA Championship earlier this year, eventually finished three off the pace after completing an even-par 70.
Olin Browne (65) and John Cook (67) were tied for third at 2-under and Watson was alone in fifth at 1-over after shooting 66.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.