Forget the eagle this time. For Bernhard Langer, the birdie landed in the 18th cup, and it was plenty for his second victory at TPC Twin Cities in four years.
Unlike in 2009, when he needed a chip-in on the par-5 18th hole to win, Langer stalked Round 2 leader David Peoples all afternoon Sunday and finally struck with vengeance.
While Peoples was making 10 routine pars in a row, Langer -- six shots back to start the day -- turned in a 31 on the front nine and added more birdies on the back just as Peoples unraveled with a bogey on No. 16.
Langer finished the tournament at 18 under par, two ahead of Peoples, who finished Sunday with a 70. Langer ended a victory drought of 24 events since he last won on the Champions Tour. His previous long stretch without a victory on the 50-and-over circuit was 11 events.
Langer's six-shot deficit was the largest final-round comeback victory in tournament history. The last time a player came back from six shots to win a Champions Tour event was when Jeff Sluman won the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in 2009.
Langer is the 15th different winner on the Champions Tour this season and has won at least one tournament in six consecutive seasons.
No. 18: 582-yard par-5
The signature hole finally was tamed. Known for giving up eagles aplenty, a pesky wind kept the last hole fairly quiet Sunday. It still ranked as the third-easiest hole and played slightly under par (4.802), but no eagles were made by the 81-player field.
"It's like the 100-meter dash in the Olympics but I'm jogging. Walking, maybe."
-- Charles Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman after he finished the tournament 11 shots out of the lead.
The local club pro collected $6,300 for his 46th-place finish (4 under), appearing in his first Champions Tour event on a sponsor's exemption.
Q Well, what did you think?
A It's over. It was fun week. I'm a little disappointed in the finish [1-over 73 on Sunday] but I made three weak bogeys on Nos. 8-10 with missed putts, missed shots and a bad drive. But I was proud with the 2 under from there. I felt like I could have had a couple more. The last seven holes made me feel better.
Q You played with Mark Calcavecchia Sunday, do you know him at all?
A I'd never met him before, but he's a great guy to play with and is a lot of fun. He's obviously a great player. He hit one in the water and still shot 66. He missed a few short ones; could have really been a low round for him. He's good at everything. I don't know if he had a bad shot all day. He's so solid.
Q Any thoughts of trying to qualify for this tour full-time?
A I can compete, it's just a matter if I want to do it. It's hard to get your tour card, and they're not too excited about guys like me coming out here, understandably so. I don't bring much to the table on a national stage. I'd like to play more events, maybe qualify for the Senior Open or the Senior PGA.
Q What will you take from this?
A It was a learning experience. I feel like I could compete out here. I'd have to putt a little bit better. To shoot the scores these guys do at the top you have to make some putts. And I just can't make enough birdies. I missed a lot of 10-, 15-footers. But what a great time. I'm very thankful I had the opportunity.
|New Orleans||7:25 PM|
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