• Saturday, 22 June 2024
Golf: Bernhard Langer wins Chubb Classic, ties Champions career record

Golf: Bernhard Langer wins Chubb Classic, ties Champions career record

Bernhard Langer made four birdies over his final five holes to pull away and win the Chubb Classic on Sunday in Naples, Fla., tying Hale Irwin's record of 45 career victories on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 65-year-old German successfully defended his 2022 title at Tiburon Golf Club and beat last year's score by a stroke at 17-under 199.

Already the oldest winner in tour history, Langer shot below his age Friday with his opening-round 64. A 70 helped him maintain the lead through two rounds before shooting his age once more Sunday with a 7-under 65. It was his eighth time shooting his age or lower in a Champions Tour event.

"There's been a lot of talk about catching Hale for the last few years, and there's a lot of pressure, especially today when you get this close," Langer said. "Then you have thoughts running through your mind, and you're going, ‘Wow, you're this close, you don't want to lose it now.' But that's the wrong stuff to think. You've got to just focus on one shot at a time."

Langer fended off the final-round efforts of Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who tied Steve Stricker for second at 14-under 202, and Dicky Pride, who briefly shared the lead with Langer before settling for a tie for fourth at 13 under with Jerry Kelly.

Harrington made six birdies on the opening nine holes to go out in 6-under 29. He cooled off and made a costly double bogey at the par-4 14th, though a bounce-back birdie and a closing eagle at the par-5 18th helped him card a 65.

Pride made a hole-in-one at the par-3 10th, knocking his tee shot onto the very front of the green and watching it roll all the way to the cup. He said the left-to-right wind was helping it a bit.

"That was a lot of fun. ... I just hit it on a really good line," Pride said. "It took a great bounce and disappeared."

The ace put Pride one shot behind Langer, and his birdie 4 at No 12 tied him with Langer at 13 under.

Langer responded by birdieing the par-4 14th and par-5 15th. Pride did his best to keep pace with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, but he fell back with consecutive bogeys at the final two holes to shoot a 68.

Langer kept his foot on the gas and birdied Nos. 17 and 18. He sank a lengthy putt at the 17th for just the second birdie at that hole all day. He followed it up by hitting driver off the deck on his second shot at No 18, setting himself up well for an up-and-down for birdie.

"I thought I had a one-shot lead and I needed to make par to win, and (his caddie) said, ‘You actually have a two-shot lead,' and I said, ‘Well, I don't trust leaderboards and all that,'" Langer said. "I figured I could have laid up with a 5-iron or something, but then you bring the bunker into play, and then you don't know. You end up in a divot and chunk it into the bunker, and all of a sudden you're under pressure.

"If I hit 3-wood I'm going to end up where I ended up yesterday, 10, 15 yards short in a tight lie, so I figured let's just hit driver, natural fade, it leaves me with a good angle into the green, and it turned out perfect."

Stricker shot a bogey-free 66, getting into the mix late with three birdies over his final six holes. Kelly carded a 68.

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