Fred Couples of the USA closed with two birdies to win The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex by two shots from his countryman Gary Hallberg.
At the start of Sunday’s play Couples was one behind third round leader Bernhard Langer. There was little to separate the pair through the front nine, but the decisive moments came on the 11th and 12th holes.
Couples birdied the former to tie Langer at the top then, on the 12th, the German found a bunker and that led to a double bogey six, while Couples scored a birdie to move three shots clear.
Couples dropped a shot at the next hole to fall back to seven-under-par and that number was matched by Gary Hallberg who birdied the 17th, en-route to setting a clubhouse total of 273.
So, Couples came to the last two holes in a tie for the lead. Like Hallberg, he managed a birdie on the penultimate hole. He then sealed the victory with a superb three on the last.
“It was a fun day,” said the 1992 Masters Champion. “Being paired with Bernhard, you’ve got to play great and for a long time there we were neck and neck… That was a big birdie on the 17th, to make the last a little easier.”
Langer, who eventually finished in a tie for sixth was disappointed with a final round of 75.
“Obviously the back nine was a disaster,” he said. “I hit a couple of loose shots and got some bad breaks. But Fred played very well and he finished in style with birdie, birdie.”
Hallberg, who fired a course record equalling 63 on Friday, was delighted with his performance.
“I was very pleased with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t think of setting a target, I wanted to stay in the present and I think I did a good job of that.”
English duo Carl Mason and Barry Lane enjoyed an excellent week to finish in a tie for third with Dick Mast of the USA.
The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex
Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland
26-29 Jul, purse €1,629,543, par 70
1 Fred Couples (USA) 72 68 64 67 271 €256,059
2 Gary Hallberg (USA) 71 63 73 66 273 €170,787
T3 Barry Lane (Eng) 67 74 66 69 276 €79,360
T3 Carl Mason (Eng) 69 74 67 66 276 €79,360
T3 Dick Mast (USA) 66 73 70 67 276 €79,360
T6 John Cook (USA) 69 72 66 71 278 €43,167
T6 Peter Fowler (Aus) 68 72 65 73 278 €43,167
T6 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 64 73 66 75 278 €43,167
T6 Mark Wiebe (USA) 70 71 70 67 278 €43,167