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By John Hopkins of Global Golf Post
Berhnard Langer, 59, took a grip of this event on the opening day, a 69 giving him a lead he was never to lose. The weather conditions were atrocious for much of Thursday, which Tom Watson described as one of the 10 worst days he had ever experienced on a links course, and even worse for some of the second round. “The first two hours were among the hardest I have ever played in,” Langer said.
Such conditions are meat and drink to Langer, who never allows himself to get flustered or to lose his self-control. “I know that when conditions are bad, half the field will have given up and that improves my chances,” Langer said. He did have a 3-over par 74 on Friday but then bounced back with a 6-under 65, equalling the day’s best, in the third round, which gave him a four-stroke lead at the start of the last round. His 72-hole total of 280 was 4-under par, and he finished three strokes ahead of Corey Pavin, the 2010 US Ryder Cup captain, and four ahead of Americans Fred Couples and Billy Andrade, and Australian Peter Lonard.
With this, his fourth win on the PGA Tour Champions and his third victory in a major championship this year (and his 10th senior championship, more than any other player), Langer strengthened his position as the leading money winner on the senior tour in the US.
Langer’s victory was not so emphatic as his 2014 triumph at the same venue when he finished 18-under par and 13 strokes ahead of Colin Montgomerie for one of five victories on the Champions Tour that year. But his performance was good enough to beat one of the strongest fields assembled for the Senior Open. This year’s competitors included six past champions: Defending champion Paul Broadhurst, Russ Cochran (2011), Couples (2012), Marco Dawson (2015), Langer himself (2010, 2014) and Tom Watson (2003, 2005 and 2007).
“I hit my first tee shot into a gorse bush so my week here ended better than it started,” Langer said, smiling.
Republished with permission by Global Golf Post