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.

European Tour Senior Open, Victory for Fred Couples.



Fred Couples  (Getty Images)

Fred Couples (Getty Images)

Easy swinging Fred Couples birdied Turnberry’s closing two holes to claim a great victory in the 2012 Senior Open Championship, Presented by Rolex.  Fred  finished two shots clear of compatriot Gary Hallberg following a dramatic final round in Ayrshire, Scotland.

At the start of play on the last day Fred had  trailed overnight leader Bernhard Langer by one shot. He then took advantage of the German’s slip on the back nine to capture the title with a closing round of -3  under par 67, and a total of -9 under par for the tournament. Fred of course was very happy with his victory;

“It was a very fun day. Being paired with Bernhard, you’ve got to play great and for a long time there, we were neck and neck. But for me I felt like I was hitting the ball very strong, very solid and I was really lucky that it didn’t rain because I’m not very good in the rain,  I don’t wear a golf glove; I had two gloves in the bag that were all‑weather gloves and I was scared to death to ever put those on. That was a big birdie on 17 to make 18 play easier and then when I hit the last putt, the hole got in the way and I won by two.  I’m very happy and excited to have won this.”

During is career Fred had previously finished in the top ten of  The Open Championship on nine occasions, wining the Senior Open has made up for those near misses;

” It’s the next best thing for all of us, obviously I never won The Open.  I came close.  Last night I really thought about the golf course. I knew I needed to play it well, and this is my biggest Senior Tour win, by far, winning on a truly great, great golf course. I can say I won a Senior Open at Turnberry.  I think the best thing about the whole week was playing this course.  It’s a challenging, very tough course, under extreme weather.  It’s nice to win any event, but there have been a lot of great champions on this thing, that’s for sure.”

Second placed Gary Hallberg had a last round 66,  on Friday Gary had equalled the Ailsa course record with a stunning 63, he lamented having to play in the worst of the conditions;

” I played my two best rounds in the worst of the conditions, I was very pleased with the way I played and congratulations to Freddie on a great performance.I didn’t think about setting a target. I tried to stay in the present moment.  I think I did a nice job of that.  I wanted to get ahead of myself.  But I stayed in the present moment.”

Bernhard Langer finished up sharing sixth place, ruing some bad play and bad luck with the pot bunkers;

“Obviously the back nine was a disaster, I just hit a couple of loose shots and got some bad breaks.  I ending up in pot bunkers and all of those things.  We were on the clock, as well, which didn’t help.  We had to rush a lot of the shots which didn’t make it any easier. Fred played very well, a solid round of golf and I think he deserves to win.  He finished in style with birdie, birdie.  That’s like a great champion, so it was well deserved.”