STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Bernhard Langer won the US Senior Open on Sunday at SentryWorld to break the PGA Tour Champions record for career wins.
Pushing his record as the tour’s oldest winner from 50+ to 65 years, 10 months, 5 days, the German star broke a tie with Hale Irwin for the winning mark with the No. 46.
“My mother will be 100 years old on August 4, so I think I have good genes,” Langer said. “Hopefully, I’ll be around for a few more years.”
Seven shots ahead on the back nine, Langer bogeyed the last three holes for a 1-under 70 and a 2-shot victory over home state favorite Steve Stricker on the tree-lined course with thick rough.
“I never thought it would happen at a US Senior Open, but I’m very excited that the record 46 wins happened this week,” Langer said. “It’s certainly one of the best tournaments we’ve ever competed in, and to win this field, where everyone was here, especially Stricker and [Jerry] Kelly in her homeland, it’s a very special feeling.”
Langer finished at 7-under 277, with only eight players breaking par for the week. He broke the tournament age record set by Allen Doyle in 2006 at SentryWorld at 57 years, 11 months and 14 days.
“There are a lot more aches and pains than 10 years ago,” Langer said. “I still enjoy the game. If I play like I did this week, I’ll keep playing. There was this weird week where I was like, ‘What were you doing here? Go home and play with the grandkids. ‘”
Also a winner of the 2010 US Senior Open in Sahalee, just outside Seattle, Langer extended his record for senior senior wins to 12. He won the Chubb Classic in Florida in February to tie Irwin.
Stricker, from Madison, 100 miles to the south, birdied three of the last five holes for a 69.
“I guess it gives all of us hope that we’re going to keep playing and we can keep playing as well as he has for so long,” Stricker said of Langer. “It’s really impressive. I knew I wasn’t going to back down today.”
Stricker won the first two senior majors of the year and took down his hometown Madison event three weeks ago for his fourth championship win of the season.
“It seemed like I had a poor nine holes there every day, and that ended up costing me the tournament,” Stricker said.
Kelly, also from Madison, was third at 4-under after 71.
“I was just too excited,” Kelly said. “I was trying to be cool and collected, but I was talking more than I had in the whole week. I was moving a little faster than I had in the whole week.”
Two shots ahead of Kelly entering the round, Langer birdied the first two holes for the second day in a row.
Langer added a birdie at No. 5 and then rounded from a bogey at No. 6 with a birdie at No. 7. He opened the last nine with a birdie at 10, parried the next five and finished with all three bogeys. followed.
“It wasn’t easy,” Langer said. “My age probably showed up towards the end.”
Brett Quigley (66) and Rob Labritz (69) tied for fourth at 2-under. Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen (71), Steven Alker (65) and Dicky Pride (69) were all at 1 under par.
“The rough was tough and for as many fairways as I missed, I think I got it right,” Goosen said. “It was like a cow eating cabbage all the time.”
Langer sacrificed distance for accuracy to stay out.
“I think that’s one of the reasons I did so well. I didn’t hit rough very often,” Langer said. “Sometimes I hit a lot of 3-woods off the tees, but then I had to hit 3-woods on the green or a very long club. But I’d rather do that than hit the driver out of the rough.”