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The Senior Open. Magical Mark Wiebe Beats Bernhard Langer

Magical Mark Wiebe beat Bernhard Langer in the play-off for The Senior Open title at Royal Birkdale, on Monday morning.

Mark Wiebe with The Senior Claret Jug  (Getty Images)

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.”

The Senior Open Championship. Play Suspended

 

Mark Wiebe -4 under par 66 and Bernhard Langer even par round 70 for the final round are tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the last round of the Senior Open Championship. Both players are tied at -9 under par for the tournament.

The play-off was suspended due to dangerous weather conditions, the chance of lightning at Royal Birkdale, and will resume tomorrow morning at 0800.

 

Tied in third place were Corey Pavin, Peter Senior and David Frost, all at -6 under par for the tournament.

The Senior Open. Langer Leads

Bernhard Langer leads The Senior Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club on Merseyside in England.

Bernhard Langer  (Getty Images)

Bernhard Langer / Getty Images

Bernhard had a third round of -4 under par 66, and leapt to the top of the leaderboard on his own at -9 under par, three shots clear of the field. Bernhard, who is shooting for his second Senior Open title, he won in 2010, said that round  was probably his best golf;

” That was as good as I can play, my ball striking was almost perfect and I played really well, apart from the mistake at the 14th. It’s always special to win any tournament, but to win a Major and to win it on a golf course like this, would mean a lot.  There’s a lot of golf left, we all know that.  There’s somebody inside me that expects me to win, but I know there’s 18 holes left, and there’s a lot of shots to be pulled off and a lot of putts to be made. So golf is not over till it’s over, and we’ve got 18 holes to play. I’ve hit so many good shots the last few days where they just  feel good and come off right where I want them to go, and they go the proper distance. It’s just fun playing golf that way because it doesn’t happen very often.”

David Frost is in second place with a total of -6 under par with a modest third round of -2 under par 68, and will start the final round three shots in arrears of the leader. David admitted it would take something really special to him to win his maiden Senior Open;

“I have to do something really special, I have to find something that I’m confident with, that I can go out tomorrow and just find a little key thought.  It would be special to win here at Birkdale. I’ve come here many years, so hopefully we can talk about that tomorrow night.”

Overnight co-leader Mark Wiebe needed a 40-foot birdie putt at the 13th to return to level par for the day and finished four shots off the lead, in third place on his own at -5 under par. Sandy Lyle, the 1985 Open Champion is still in the hunt, albeit six shots off the lead at -3 under par for the tournament. Sandy was joined on that score by Gene Sauers and Peter Fowler.

The Senior British Open. Langer and Wiebe Tied.

After two rounds of The Senior British Open Bernhard Langer and Mark Wiebe are tied at the top of the leaderboard at Royal Birkdale.

Mark Wiebe / Getty Images

Mark managed to bogey the sixth hole for the second time in as many days, but still carded a second round – 5 under par 65, to share the lead with Bernhard Langer, on the par 70 Royal Birkdale layout.

Mark said he was tickled to shoot a low round, and be where he is;

“I really got my irons zoned in on the back nine, I know there’s a long way to go, but I’m tickled to be where I am. It was unbelievable and great to shoot the low round.”

 Bernhardthe 2010 champion at Carnoustie, shot a second round  -3 under par 67, for his total of -5 under par, which included a two stroke penalty for double hitting the ball. Apart from that misdemeanor Bernhard said he had played great golf;

“The ball was sitting up in the long grass and I caught it high on the club face and again on the follow through, but that was my only blemish. Most of it was impressive and good, and I putted a little better today.”

David Frost , repeated his first round score of -2 under par 68, and is just a stroke back in third place. He said it was his putter that saved a shaky round;

“It was a bit of a shaky round, I didn’t feel comfortable with the club in my hand. I hit some wayward shots, but managed to hit good irons into the greens and the putter was my savior.”

Tom Watson, only got going after a very indifferent front nine, which  featured two birdies, two bogeys and a sad double-bogey. Tom then converted long putts at Nos. 11, 12 and 13 and sunk another birdie putt at the 15th hole. He unfortunately bogeyed the last two holes of the day to finish in a group on +4 over par.

The overnight tournament leader Gene Sauers could manage an even par round fo 70 today, which left him sharing fourth place at -3 under par. He admitted he did not play so well in the second round, but was pretty happy with where he was at this stage of the tournament;

“I’m happy with where I am. I didn’t hit the ball as well as I did yesterday and I didn’t putt as well either.”

 

 

 

Champions Tour, SAS Championship. Bernhard Langer Wins

Sweet 16

Bernhard Langer/Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Bernhard Langer won the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club, Cary, North Carolina on Sunday with a blistering final round of -9 under par bogey free 63, and tournament total of -13 under par. The win also catapults Bernhard into the lead of the Charles Schwab Cup points race, this is also Bernhard’s 16th Champions Tour victory.  At the start of the day Bernhard was four shots back beginning the final round, he finished it with birdies on the final two holes for his winning score of – 13 under par at the Prestonwood Country Club. Bernhard said he knew he was going to have to dig deep to contest for the trophy;

“I knew I had to go deeper and lower to make up some ground, and thank goodness it was -9 under because Jay Don came very close to tie me. So a lot of good golf, probably only two bad shots and everything else was good or really good. This week was pretty neat to have won from being four behind and played the round that I played today to take over the Schwab Cup lead, to take over the money list, leading in the money list, those are big goals of mine that I set at the beginning of the year, and obviously it’s not done, but I’m a little closer to maybe achieving it.”

Jay Don Blake  claimed second place alone,  closing with a final round of -4 under par 68 and a total of -11 under par. He needed a birdie on the par-4 18th to force a playoff, but hit a tree with his drive and finished with a bogey on the hole. Jay Don thought he was having problems with his rhythm;

Probably the rhythm that I was in wasn’t very good because I was just making pars; Bernhard was making all the birdies. You just feel like you have to be more aggressive. But sometimes being aggressive doesn’t always work out. Trying to be too aggressive on 18 kind of hurt me.”

Mark Wiebe also shot a final round of -4 under par 68 to finish on his own in third place with a total of  -10 under par for the tournament. Fred Funk, the leader at the start of play on the last day, had a mediocre -1 under par final round, finishing in a tie for fourth spot.

Champions Tour, SAS Championship,Funk and Pate tied at the Top

Fred Funk and Steve Pate are still tied at the top of the leaderboard in the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club, Cary, North Carolina after the second round. Both players have had identical scores for the first two rounds of 67 and 69 for totals of -8 under par.

Fred Funk a seven time Champions Tour winner will battle against Steve  Pate, in  the final round tomorrow.  Steve Pate is unfortunately winless in his previous 34 starts on the Champions Tour, and will be concentrating hard to get his first win.

Fred admitted he did not play too well to begin with today;

“Well, it wasn’t a very easy round, the first part, I was really struggling with my whole game and managed to shoot 1 over on the front. I kept working on my swing, trying to figure something out. And I really never could figure anything out, and I tried a couple different swing keys. And all of a sudden, I started hitting it really close and hitting it really solid. I hit it really good; hit some irons really good.”

Steve said nothing was easy today;

” Friday was really easy. I hit everything on line. Saturday, I hit nothing on line, there was nothing easy about it, but I only made one bogey, so that was good. I mean, that could have easily gone sideways pretty quickly, and it didn’t, so that was nice.”

Jay Don Blake and Andrew Magee are just one stroke back, while 65-year-old Larry Nelson had the round of the day, a -6 under par 66, and he leads a quartet of players who are just two back.  Larry Nelson’s second round 66 matched Mark McNulty, Mark O’Meara and Mark Wiebe  for total tournament score of – 6 under par. McNulty had a 68, and O’Meara and Wiebe shot 69. 65 year-old Larry said he was conscious about trying to shoot his age;

“It’s just kind of a personal thing, so I guess that’s probably a good thing to focus on, the tournament is secondary at that point. Now Sunday, the tournament might be a little more better or a little bit more of a priority than it was today.”

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