Bernhard Langer became the most successful golfer in Senior major history as he secured his third Senior Open Championship.
The German, victorious at this event in 2010 and 2014, was previously tied with South Africa’s Gary Player on nine Senior major victories, and he moved into double figures with a three-stroke victory over 2010 US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.
With his second victory on the links of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Langer joins Player and Tom Watson as the only three-time winners of the Senior Claret Jug.
Although his margin of victory wasn’t as spectacular as the 13 strokes he won by in 2014, Langer’s success is certainly as impressive as he started the week with laryngitis and battled treacherous weather conditions on the Welsh links.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to have won here again,” he said. “There might have been a little extra pressure, just knowing that I won here by 13 a few years ago. I hit my first tee shot straight into a gorse bush on the left and it was unplayable so, looking back now, it ended a lot better than it started.
“It didn’t look very promising early on. But, despite my first tee shot and my sickness, I actually had a very good first round and had the lead of the Championship and I think that was the key. I led from the very beginning. I led on Thursday, I was co-leader Friday and then jumped into the lead with a 65 yesterday and never surrendered.
“We know what great players Tom Watson and Gary Player are, especially as Tom has maybe the best links course record of anybody. He’s one of the best wind players that I’ve seen, maybe the best; and we all know what Gary has achieved in his career. I’m very honoured to be mentioned with those two.”
As winner of the Senior Open, Langer is exempt for the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, site of his first Senior Open victory in 2010. He will then defend the Senior Claret Jug at St Andrews the following week, the first time the Senior Open will be played over the hallowed links.
“I’m looking forward to Carnoustie and St Andrews,” said Langer. “That will be a couple of very special weeks for me next year. St Andrews is one of my most favourite places; the golf course has really grown on me. It’s a fantastic place to play golf and there’s so much history there.”
Sharing third place were American pair Billy Andrade and Fred Couples and Australia’s Peter Lonard on level par. Welshman Phillip Price finished sixth alongside Sweden’s Magnus P Atlevi and Spain’s Miguel Angel Martin. Colin Montgomerie tied for 23rd on seven-over after closing with a 74.