Magical Mark Wiebe beat Bernhard Langer in the play-off for The Senior Open title at Royal Birkdale, on Monday morning.
Mark Wiebe and The Senior Claret Jug / Getty Images
A truly great links golf shot was the key which helped American Mark Wiebe claim a dramatic victory in The Senior Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Mark and Bernhard were forced to return to the Merseyside course on Monday at 8 am, after darkness finally suspended play at 9.41 pm on Sunday. That was after the dueling pair had completed two extra holes. They played the 18th hole three more times on Monday morning, and it was Mark who eventually struck the super shot. He had found the rough with his tee shot on the par four, but produced a marvelous low draw that found the putting surface.
Bernhard was just short of the greenside bunker but his chip shot, from an awkward lie, ran a good fifteen feet past the hole. That left Mark a 30ft birdie putt for victory, which he left just inches from the hole, and tapped in for par. Bernhard was unable to make his par putt, handing victory to Mark.
Sadly for a heartbroken Bernhard it was a great opportunity for another Open title, and he should have won. He led by two strokes playing the last hole in regulation on Sunday before closing with a double bogey, and the lengthy play-off ensued.
Mark said he was speechless and shocked;
” I’m speechless, shocked, too, I just planned on Bernie making that putt on the fifth extra hole and I actually was wondering already what hole we were going to go to now. Do we go back to 18 or do I start on a new hole. I think it’s always better for both players had there been a birdie to win the playoff instead of a bogey, but right now, I don’t really care. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m honored. I just was luckier today and last night than Bernie I guess. I also feel like Bernie has won, what, a couple hundred tournaments. He’s won so many, I feel like this was my turn.”
Bernhard was very gracious in defeat, remembering Jean Van de Velde;
“It was really my tournament to win or lose coming down 18 on Sunday, and I made a major error by taking on the green. It almost felt like Jean Van de Velde, if not quite. But that was certainly a bad error and shouldn’t have happened as experienced as I am. But under the battle and are under the long delay, we had two rain delays, as you know, the mind and the brain doesn’t always work 100 per cent right. Mark is a very deserving champion. He played a great week of golf, and we know he’s a great putter and he’s hit some really good shots this week.”