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Langer Hangs on to Win Senior Players Championship
Despite carding his worst round of the tournament, Bernhard Langer had enough left in the tank to win the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh.
The 56-year-old German opened with rounds of 5-under 65, 64 and 66 to forge a three-stroke lead over defending champion Kenny Perry entering Sunday. But Langer had an uncharacteristically erratic final round. He did fine on the front half, posting four birdies and a pair of bogeys to make the turn in 2-under 33.
But on the back nine, he bogeyed the 10th and doubled the par-4 12th to drop back to the field. But a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th brought him to 15-under, and a par on the last tied him with Jeff Sluman, who had just polished off a stellar five-birdie 65.
On the first extra hole, the par-5 18th, Sluman just missed a birdie try that would have given the 56-year-old his first major title on either the PGA or Champions tours. But he settled for par, matched by Langer, and the two returned to the 18th.
From deep rough left-front of a greenside bunker, Langer hit a superb third shot to five feet, and made the birdie putt after Sluman two-putted for par. The victory was Langer's third this year, and the 21st - including three different majors - of his stellar stretch on the over-50 circuit.
"It's very satisfying," Langer said during a greenside interview after the victory. "You just have to be so patient in this game." It was Langer's first Champions Tour major since the 2010 U.S. Senior Open.
The win, worth $405,000, gives Langer a huge 882-point lead in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race over second-place Jay Haas.
Russ Cochran ended up in third a stroke out of the playoff following a 67, while Perry, the defending Senior Players champion who was seeking his fourth Champions Tour major in a year and trying to become only the second player - joining Arnold Palmer - to win two straight Senior Players, closed with a 69 to take fourth at 13-under 267.
Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty carded a 66 to finish fifth at 11-under, and sharing sixth at 10-under 270 were Mark Brooks (66), Corey Pavin (67), Haas (66), Mark O'Meara (68), Joe Durant (71) and Bill Glasson (71).
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/champions/leaderboard.html.