2005: Competition - Teens show form at Father/Son

ChampionsGate, Fla.

The MBNA WorldPoints Father/Son Challenge is undergoing a youth movement.

At the forefront was 15-year-old Stefan Langer, who teamed with his father Bernhard for a one-stroke victory Dec. 4 over five-time champion Ray Floyd and son Robert.

Stefan, a high school freshman who already is a scratch golfer, hit a 3-wood from 216 yards to 20 feet on the par-5 18th, where the duo then two-putted for a birdie and the $200,000 first-place prize in the scramble event (Results, p56).

The Langers, who knew they needed a birdie on the final hole to win after Robert Floyd sank a 20-foot eagle putt at No. 18 to briefly tie them, finished at 24-under 120 in the two-day event at ChampionsGate Golf Resort.

“It was a little nerve-racking, but fun at the same time,” said Stefan. “When you’ve got your dad there next to you, it’s not as bad.”

Stefan easily became the youngest member of a winning team in the event’s 11-year history. Ray Floyd Jr. was 21 when he teamed with his dad to win the inaugural Father/Son title in 1995.

The younger Langer was only one of several teenage stars at this year’s event. Of the seven teams tied for third or better, three featured sons 16 or younger. Vijay Singh and son Qass, 15, finished in a five-way tie for third at 22-under 122, a group that also included Mark O’Meara and son Shaun, 16.

The Langers held steady despite a frenetic back-nine shootout. With seven holes remaining for the final group, five teams were tied for the lead. The Floyds seemed positioned to win for a sixth time but managed only one birdie over a four-hole stretch starting on No. 14.

The Langers could make a run at the Floyd family record, given Stefan’s age and the fact that Bernhard isn’t exactly over the hill at age 48.

“He should only get better,” Bernhard said. “I’m just trying not to get worse.”

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