Langer wins with tourney record

Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour Player of the Year, has stepped back into the winners circle.

Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour Player of the Year, stepped back into the winners circle at The Quarry in Naples, Florida on Sunday.

Langer shot a 6-under-par 66 to set a tournament record at the ACE Group Classic with a 20-under-par 196 total that also earned him a comprehensive victory by four shots.

Langer, 53, held a four-stroke lead going into the final round and although Fred Funk got within two after Langer bogeyed the 11th, the German golfing legend hit back with birdies on the 12th and 14th and then put the cherry on the top of his triumph with a 5-footer for birdie on the last.

“It’s always exciting winning,” said Langer, a two-time Masters winner whose victory was his 14th on the Champions Tour win.

“It never gets old no matter where or how big the tournament; whether it’s a major or not. Winning is what we’re out here for, what I practice for.”

Funk had a chance to make a strong finish, but missed a short birdie putt on 17 and to finish with a 66 and a 16-under total.

“I just couldn’t get them in the hole from there,” he said. “I gave myself some opportunities. I thought if I could’ve kept the heat on him and made a few more of those putts things might have been different, but Bernhard played great.”

Nick Price (66) and Russ Cochran (67) were a further shot back in a tie for third while Mark Calcavecchia (68) was fifth at 14 under.

“Overall it was kind of a crazy day,” said Cochran, who had been tied for the first-round lead with Langer at theb start of the day.

“I missed some putts you’da thought I’d make and made a bunch of them you didn’t think I’d make.”

Langer won after what had been a disappointingly slow start to the year. He had finished tied for 16th and 17th in the season’s first two full-field events and wasn’t happy.

So ,much so, that he practiced like a demon this week.

He came up with a new driver, an even longer putter and tried out three different sets of irons. He called swing coach Willie Hoffman almost every day and was then concerned that he may have overworked himself.

“I was pretty tired, but I knew I had to work on my game extremely hard to sort out what clubs to use, what putter to use and it all came together at the right time,” he said.