USGA CHAMPIONS
Langer Registers 10th Senior Major Title July 31, 2017 By David Shefter, USGA

Although he came up short in this year's U.S. Senior Open, Bernhard Langer managed to register three senior major victories in 2017. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

As the Senior Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, began last week, Bernhard Langer was feeling a little under the weather. Considering the weather conditions for the first two rounds at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, that would have seemed to be a bad recipe for success. The 2011 U.S. Senior Open champion had a bad case of laryngitis and was told by doctors to stay in bed.

But this was the final senior major championship of the season, being contested on a course on which the uber-competitive Langer won by 13 strokes three years ago.

So despite the illness, the Germany native decided to give it a go. And by Sunday, Langer had registered his third Senior Open victory and 10th senior major title. Thanks to a third-round 65, Langer posted a three-stroke win over 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin. Langer (4-under 280) and Pavin were the only competitors to finish under par for 72 holes.

The challenging conditions caused scores to soar during the first two rounds, some into the 90s. Despite getting off to a rough start in Round 1, Langer managed a 2-under 69 and followed with rounds of 74-65-72.

“All my colleagues kept reminding me of that and when I got to the first tee on Thursday [and] I hit my first tee shot straight into a gorse bush,” said Langer of his inauspicious start. “So yes, it ended a lot better than it started. I had a sore throat for the whole week, was nowhere near 100 percent and probably shouldn’t have played. And that makes this even more meaningful.”

Langer began the PGA Tour Champions major season with consecutive victories in the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek and Senior PGA Championship at Trump National Club in Washington, D.C. But Kenny Perry ended his run in the U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club. Langer also had a chance to win the Senior Players Championship two weeks ago at Caves Valley, but was edged by one stroke in the end by Scott McCarron’s final-round 66.

Nevertheless, he didn’t have to wait too long to overtake Gary Player for the most senior major titles.

“It's pretty neat to do something that nobody else has done before,” said Langer. “Winning 10 senior majors, it's not easily done, as there is a lot of competition out there. And maybe there's one or two more in the future. But right now, I'm just going to enjoy the fruit of the labor. To have won three majors in one season is pretty spectacular – and it would have been four if I didn't mess up two weeks ago [at the Seniors Players Championship].”

Chip Lutz, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, finished as the low amateur for a fourth time in the championship. The Pennsylvania native tied for 68th at 17-over 301.

“It was one of the most difficult tournaments for weather that I have ever encountered,” said Lutz, who earned an exemption into the 2018 Senior Open at St. Andrews (Old Course). “[I’m] feeling a little beat up.”

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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