Mark Wiebe of the USA has beaten Germany’s Bernhard Langer at the fifth extra hole to win The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex at Royal Birkdale in Southport.
The pair were tied after 72 holes yesterday evening, so headed back to the 18th to settle the championship in a sudden-death playoff. Twice they halved the home hole with par fours before it was decided to call a halt to proceedings because of encroaching darkness. Storms earlier in the day had caused play to be delayed, so regulation play ended much later than expected.
So, the pair had to return to the famous Merseyside links this morning to decide the fate of the tournament. They made, once again, for the 18th tee. Both men hit good drives before Langer found the green in regulation, some 20 feet from the cup. Wiebe went long and was left with a testing up-and-down. He putted to within three feet, leaving Langer a putt for the title. He missed and Wiebe holed his par effort to stay in the competition.
On the fourth extra hole, both men found the greenside bunker, short and left of the pin with their second shots. Neither was able to get down in two, so a half in fives.
At the fifth time of asking, Langer played a poor second that ended up short of the bunker he’d been in the previous time down. Wiebe ran a good shot up out of the rough, onto the front of the green. Langer was unable to get up-and-down from an awkward spot behind the bunker and, as Wiebe had rolled his birdie effort to the side of the cup and tapped in for four, the American was the victor.
Langer should have won the tournament in regulation play. He was two shots clear with just one hole to play, but the two-time Masters winner took four to get down from a greenside bunker and the resulting double bogey let Wiebe back into the tournament.
“I had quite a nice lead and all I had to do was bogey the last hole,” Langer said. “I gave it away. I could bogey the last hole and win the championship, and I probably chose the wrong club for my second shot. I should have maybe played it short to take the bunkers out of play.”
The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex
Royal Birkdale, Southport, Merseyside
Jul 25-29, purse $2,000,000 par 66
1 Mark Wiebe (USA) 70 65 70 66 271
2 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 68 67 66 70 271
T3 Corey Pavin (USA) 69 71 69 65 274
T3 Peter Senior (Aus) 68 71 69 66 274
T3 David Frost (RSA) 68 68 68 70 274
6 Peter Fowler (Aus) 69 68 70 69 276
7 Sandy Lyle (Sco) 70 68 69 70 277
T8 Tom Pernice Jr (USA) 70 72 70 66 278
T8 Jeff Hart (USA) 69 69 73 67 278
10 Gene Sauers (USA) 67 70 70 72 279
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage