Bernhard Langer Off To Fast Start In 2009
The cool, calm and collective, Langer trailed by one entering the final round, posting a 68 which gave him the win at 18-under-par and 198 for the tournament.
After the round, a smiling Langer said “there is nothing better than winning,” collecting a purse of $315,000 for the victory. Bean fired a six-under 66 to take second at 17-under-par 199. Jay Haas carded a two-under 70 to end alone in third at minus-15, while Jeff Sluman (70) and Mark McNulty (67) were one back at 14-under-par 202.
Second-round leader Brad Bryant stumbled to a three-over 75 to end in a share of eighth place. Bryant, the 2007 U.S. Senior Open champion, has led after two rounds on four occasions and has lost all four of those events. He has played in the last group 11 times and has won just one of those titles.
Langer’s come-from-behind win is the fifth in the last six years at this event. Things didn’t look good for Langer at the start. He bogeyed the second to fall three back. He and Bryant birdied the third, then Langer two-putted for birdie on four to get within two.
A par on the par-three fifth was good enough to give Langer a two-shot lead as Bryant found the water right of the green twice en route to a quadruple-bogey seven. That dropped Bryant to minus-13 and he didn’t recover from there.
A confident Langer two-putted for birdie on the seventh to remain two clear of Bean and Haas. Langer got up and down for birdie on 10 to move to 17-under, where he was one ahead of Bean, who eagled the 10th to briefly gain a share of the lead.
Bean bogeyed the 11th, then Langer rolled in a long birdie putt on 12. Langer stumbled to a bogey on the 13th to fall into a share of the lead with Bean, who birdied the 13th and 14th to get to 17-under.
Langer rebounded with a two-putt birdie on the par-five 14th to move one ahead at minus-18. Langer parred the final four holes to collect his fifth Champions Tour title.
Langer said that he did not watch the Leaderboard, instead he just hammered away at the course, which was probably a good idea since other players like Bean and Haas where footsteps behind.
Bean poured in three birdies in a four-hole span from the fourth to jump to 14-under, where he was one behind. He briefly grabbed a share of the lead with a 13-foot eagle putt on the 10th.
He stumbled to a bogey on 11 to slip to 15-under. Bean birdied 13 and 14 to grab apiece of the lead, but like Langer, he could only par the final four holes to finish one back.
“I couldn’t do any better. I played well today and I just needed a few more putts to fall,” Bean stated. “I’ve certainly started off well. I certainly hit a couple of bad shots this week, but all in all I had a good start.”
Other contenders on the final day were Gil Morgan with a 66 and John Cook with 68 who shared sixth place at 13-under-par 203. Bryant was joined in eighth place at minus-12 by Loren Roberts 68.
Gary Player, 73, broke his age for the third straight day. He carded rounds of 70-71-71 to share 27th place at minus-four. He has now bettered his age 12 times and matched it 12 other times on the Champions Tour.