Langer cruises to ACE Group Classic title|
Naples, FL (Sports Network) - Bernhard Langer posted his second consecutive
six-under 66 on Sunday to easily cruise to his first Champions Tour title of
the year at the ACE Group Classic.
Langer finished at 20-under 196 and established a new tournament record,
topping Jimmy Powell's mark of 197 from 1992. Langer won by four strokes at
"It's that type of golf course, it can grab you really quick, so overall it
was a very solid performance and nobody ever got closer than within two shots
of me all day long," said Langer.
Fred Funk also had a 66 on Sunday to take second alone at minus-16.
Nick Price (66) and Russ Cochran (67) tied for third at 15-under 201, followed
by Mark Calcavecchia, whose four-under 68 on Sunday gave him a solo fifth at
Langer began the final round with a four-shot lead and broke into red figures
with a three-foot birdie putt at the par-five third. He made three birdies in
a row from the fifth, but that only allowed him to keep his four-stroke
The German Hall of Famer missed a six-foot par save at the eighth, but he
reclaimed his four-shot lead with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 9.
After a Funk birdie at 10, Langer hit a poor bunker shot at 11 and walked off
with a bogey, which he had to make a 15-footer just to save. Langer's lead was
cut to two, and it stayed there after Funk and Langer birdied 12.
Cochran got within two, but Langer birdied 14 to get his comfortable margin
back. Langer knocked a nine-iron to three feet at the last for a final birdie
and the tournament record.
"It's always exciting winning," said Langer. "It never gets old no matter
where or how big the tournament, whether it's a major or not. Winning is what
we're out here for, what I practice for."
Langer's victory on Sunday was his 14th on the Champions Tour, but first this
season. He didn't crack the top 10 in his other two starts, but as the three-
time reigning Champions Tour Player of the Year, one has to wonder, how big a
year could this be for Langer?
"I worked really hard the last two weeks on my game," he said. "I had a couple
of charity events to do as well in between on both Mondays so I was pretty
tired, but I knew I had to work on my game extremely hard to sort out what
clubs to use, what putter to use.
"I was on the phone with my coach just about every day explaining what it
feels like, what's happening, and he gave me a couple tips, so it all came
together at the right time."
Olin Browne (66), Rod Spittle (66) and Mark O'Meara (69) tied for sixth at 13-
under 203, while Mark Wiebe carded a four-under 68 and finished ninth at
NOTES: Langer pocketed $240,000 for the victory...Fred Couples wasn't on hand
to defend his title because he played the Northern Trust Open on the PGA
Tour...The Champions Tour travels to California in three weeks for the Toshiba
Classic in Newport Beach, where Couples also captured the event in 2010.
02/20 19:09:41 ET