What seemed like an unreachable number was reached on Sunday in Naples when senior warhorse Bernhard Langer won the Chubb Classic on the Champions Tour.
For the 65-year-old Senior Superman, it was win No. 45, tying the mark set by Hale Irwin.
Langer closed with a 65 at Tiburon in the final round, shooting his age for what seems like the umpteenth time. Langer out-steaded Paddy Harrington, Steve Stricker and Fred Couples. Harrington and Couples suffered costly double-bogeys on the back nine.
It was a wild ride over the final nine holes but it was Langer who rolled in three birdie putts of at least 20 feet over that final nine holes. Langer pulled away from everyone with an incredible finish — four birdies over his final five holes for that seven-under closing round and a 17-under total for the 54-holes, three better than Harrington and Stricker.
“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 after his record-tying win. “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 won for the second year in a row and fifth time overall at the Chubb Classic. It’s a course on which he believes he has an advantage, and the results bear it out.
“It’s very gratifying, and I know there’s only certain courses I think where I can win,” Langer said. “There’s some courses where I have a hard time because of lack of distance. Let’s face it, I’m not hitting it as far as these 50- or 52-year-olds, and there’s some courses where I call them the bombers have such a big advantage where I have a hard time. But on a golf course like this that’s very tight and not too long, I have a chance.
Langer extended his own record for the oldest player to win a Champions Tour event, and it was his 12th victory since turning 60.
Lydia Ko Wins LET Event In Saudi Arabia:
World No. 1 Lydia Ko began her new year the same way she ended 2022, with a big win and a big check as she closed with a 4-under 68 to win the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on Sunday.
Ko held off Aditi Ashok of India to capture the richest prize among regular Ladies European Tour events. She won $750,000 from the $5 million prize fund at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia.
Ko was married in December and skipped the LPGA Tour’s season opener in Florida.
“I’m playing with the world’s best. The field this week was really good, so I knew it was going to be a challenge,” Ko said. “The first one of the year, it’s really hard because you don’t have anything to base yourself off. “You don’t know if you’re going to play well or bad. But the start definitely helped, and I think I stayed really patient and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, which is definitely good.”
Lilia Vu, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, slipped to a 71 and tied for third with Manon De Roey of Belgium (63) and Lexi Thompson (66).
Olesen Gets DP World Tour Win In Thailand:
Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark won for the seventh time on the DP World Tour Sunday with a four-shot victory in the Thailand Classic at the Amata Spring Country Club on Sunday.
Starting the final round two shots ahead of countryman Nicolai Hojgaard and Yannik Paul of Germany, the Dane never let anyone threaten him as he cruised through the last 18 holes with an error-free 66 to win on 24-under 264.
After two spectacular birdies on the 13th and 14th, Olesen never looked back.
“I had some good chances to make birdies, but I didn’t capitalize on them. Then it was a bonus to make birdies on two tough holes. It made me feel a little more comfortable. I felt steady and felt in control,” said the 33-year-old Olesen, who had three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back.
The win marked his first title in Asia and is his first since the British Masters in May 2022.
“It’s very special — It’s been a long time since I last won on a tour,” said Olsen, who will return to the world top 100 next week.