2001: Langer, 44, defies parameters of age

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Pulheim, Germany

He’s at an age when many start thinking about the Senior PGA Tour, or at least conceding that their best days are behind them.

But Bernhard Langer, 44, has taken a more defiant approach to the calendar.

“Age doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Langer said Oct. 7 after winning the Linde German Masters for the fourth time. “The god of golf doesn’t know how old you are.”

Langer shot 6-under-par 67 Sunday and withstood a late charge by John Daly to capture the event that he runs with his brother, Erwin. Langer finished at 22 under, one ahead of Daly and Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson.

Langer earned 450,000 euros (approximately $414,000), his biggest payday ever on the PGA European Tour. He is third on the Order of Merit, behind Retief Goosen, 32, and Darren Clarke, 33. It was Langer’s second title of the season and the 39th European Tour victory of his career.

Home soil has been kind to Langer. He has won in Germany 11 times. In addition to his four German Masters titles, he has won five German Opens, one Honda Open and one Deutsche Bank-SAP Open.

Daly was far from home, but he also played well. He was the first prominent American golfer to play in Europe since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He flew to Germany on a private jet after tournament officials promised him increased security. He finished with 65 after a third-round 64 thrust him into contention.

“I played the last 45 holes in 20 under par, which isn’t too bad,” Daly said. “I had a lot of opportunities and overall it’s been another good week in Germany.

“I had a slow start and a fast finish.”

In August, Daly won the BMW Open for his first title in six years.

On Sunday, his charge began when he eagled the par-5 13th, then had two birdies in his next three holes. That put him within a stroke of Langer, who responded with a 15th-hole birdie after his eagle attempt stopped on the lip of the cup.

Langer moved into the lead midway through the second round, and held off repeated challenges. He picked up a little good fortune with a scrambling par on No. 17 Sunday. Had he bogeyed, it would have opened the door for a three-way playoff.

“The 17th was a crucial hole,” said Langer, who missed the green with his approach. “It was soft enough there to stop the ball and I made a good up-and-down for par.

“The grass was longer than in the past, so I was fortunate. Bad shots need to be penalized and we will cut it down and shave it next year.”

Jacobson, seeking his first title, closed with 67. He was the last to pull even with Langer after an eagle, but Langer shook off the Swede with a 30-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole.

“I never gave away the lead, which was important,” Langer said. “(Jacobson) eagled the third to catch me, but I was never behind.”

Jacobson knew he would have to go low to win, and he almost achieved his goal.

“I knew I had to go past 20 under par to have a chance,” he said. “Unfortunately I didn’t take advantage of the last two par 5s. I’ve now been second five times.

“Maybe one day I will get the win I want.”

Englishmen Roger Chapman (66) and Greg Owen (67) shared fourth at 19-under 269.

– From staff and wire reports

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