Langer beats Couples to win U.S. Senior Open|
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Bernhard Langer parred his last 12 holes for a
three-under 67 on Sunday to beat Fred Couples by three shots and win the U.S.
Langer finished 72 holes at Sahalee with an eight-under 272, capturing his
second consecutive major on the Champions Tour with a final round that
included just three birdies.
He was coming off a win at last week's Senior British Open, his first major on
the 50-and-over tour.
"Hasn't sunk in yet," Langer said of his latest victory.
Couples, the hometown favorite, never recovered from an early triple-bogey at
the second hole, where he laid up and then knocked his approach shot into the
He closed with a 70, taking second place behind Langer at five-under 275.
Olin Browne (65) and John Cook (67) tied for third place at two-under 278 --
the only other survivors to par after four tough days of scoring.
Langer became the first player since Tom Watson in 2003 to win back-to-back
majors on the Champions Tour. He went wire-to-wire at Carnoustie last week and
led after each of the last three rounds at Sahalee.
"I think it's quite amazing to win back-to-back majors because it does take a
lot out of you when you're in the lead," said Langer, who earned $470,000 for
his latest victory.
Couples can attest to that, even if his experience was as brief as one hole.
After sharing the third-round lead with Langer, Couples birdied the first hole
Sunday on a seven-foot putt to move atop the leaderboard by himself. Langer
holed a clutch 15-foot par save to stay just one back.
Couples lost all that momentum, however, on the 508-yard second hole.
The man nicknamed "Boom Boom" for his distance opted for a rare lay-up on a
par-five, knocking his second shot to about 70 yards. His ball sitting on a
piece of hard turf, Couples chunked his approach into a pond fronting the
He dropped 10 yards farther back and thought he had 90 yards to the pin, when
he only had 80. The miscalculation caused him to hit over the green, leading
to his triple-bogey 8.
"A comedy of errors," Couples said. "My mind wasn't quite right."
Langer, meanwhile, two-putted for a birdie on No. 2 and suddenly found
himself three shots ahead of his playing partner. They outcome -- amazingly --
was never really in doubt after that.
"I didn't expect him to make a mess of that hole," said Langer. "It was a big
Langer, 52, made only two more birdies the rest of the way, the first coming
on a putt with a sweeping break at No. 3. Couples also birdied that hole, from
eight feet, to remain three back.
Langer's only other birdie came at No. 6, on a 10-footer set up by a six-iron
approach into the green. It gave him a four-shot lead, and he parred the
remainder of his holes, making "a couple of good saves" for par the rest of
It was his fourth victory overall this season.
"I had some opportunities, and I really wasn't in too much trouble the last
few holes," said Langer.
Couples helped by not making any more birdies until the 14th hole, where he
climbed within three shots. He rolled in a 25-footer for birdie at the 16th to
trim the deficit to two, but bogeyed the 18th from the rough to end three
Since starting his Champions Tour career with three wins early this season,
Couples, 50, has been a favorite in every event he's played. Sunday marked his
second runner-up finish at an over-50 major this year after he lost in a
three-way playoff to Tom Lehman at the Senior PGA Championship in May.
The Seattle native will get another chance to win in front of his hometown
fans when the tour visits nearby Snoqualmie at the end of this month for the
"I am definitely looking forward to coming up and playing again," said
NOTES: Both Langer and Couples are former Masters champions, with Langer
owning two titles at Augusta and Couples winning his only one in 1992...Langer
was the first-ever United States Golf Association champion from Germany.
08/01 21:38:40 ET