Langer runs away with Senior Open

Bernhard Langer during his 2014 Senior British Open victory at Royal Porthcawl in Wales.

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PORTHCAWL, Wales – The final round of the Senior Open was nothing more than a procession, another lap of honor for a tournament Bernhard Langer won after 36 holes.

Langer won his second senior Open Championship and fourth senior major by a landslide. The German returned a closing 4-under-par 67, the low round of the day, for an 18-under-par total of 266. He finished 13 strokes ahead of Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie to claim the $333,000 first place check.

Langer set a record for the largest winning margin on the Champions Tour, beating Hale Irwin’s 12-shot victory in the 1997 Senior PGA Championship. The German’s 18-under-par total of 266 sets a Senior Open record for lowest under-par win.

“This is very unusual to be winning by that many shots,” Langer admitted. “I was able to enjoy all 18 holes since I had a great start. My lead was never in danger, and I increased it and it was a fun walk here today.

“I just didn’t make too many mistakes. My driver was very good this week. I hit it straight and far. My long putting was excellent too. I had pretty good speed control, except for today.

"I was lacking concentration a couple of times today. When your lead is so big, it’s hard to focus.”

If the 10,539 fans who turned up at Royal Porthcawl for the final round were expecting Langer to falter, then they were sadly disappointed. Had this been a boxing match, a towel would have been tossed onto the second green.

The German birdied that hole to extend his lead over Canada’s Rick Gibson to nine shots. He made it 10 with another birdie at the third. Even a bogey at the par-4 fourth hole, when he missed a 3-foot par putt, couldn’t derail Langer. His response? Birdies at the sixth and seventh holes to move to 17 under par and a 12-shot advantage.

Langer was seven shots ahead after 36 holes, and eight ahead after 54, setting championship records on both occasions. It wasn’t a matter of if he would win, but by how many.

The 13-shot victory is the second-largest winning margin on the Champions, PGA and European Tours, falling two shots short of Tiger Woods’ 15-shot win in the 2000 U.S. Open and matching Ernie Els’ margin of 13 in the 2005 BMW Asian Open.

In the toughest conditions of the week, with a strong wind off the Irish Sea, Langer was as hard as the burnt-out fairways. The only contest Sunday was the race for second place.

Langer never won the Open Championship, but he racked up seven top fives in 29 attempts, including runner-up finishes in 1981 and 1984. He first won the over-50 Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2010.

This victory earns Langer an invitation to next year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews. Although he’ll be 57 by then, no one would be surprised if he contends. After all, he finished joint eighth in this year’s Masters.

Langer won 63 times around the world as a regular tour player, including two majors, the 1984 and 1993 Masters. He has won 24 times since turning 50 in August 2007, including four senior majors.

Porthcawl was by far his best showing since turning 50. He was simply a class above the rest of the field.

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