Michael Reaves/Getty Images
By John Strege
Bernhard Langer still has yet to slow down, though he might be running out of reasons to sustain his torrid pace.
His latest victory, in the Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday, enabled him to break Hale Irwin’s record for career earnings on the PGA Tour Champions. His $255,000 first-prize money raised his career total to $27,196,504, $75,590 ahead of Irwin.
Langer, 61, took a one-stroke lead into the final round on the Old Course at Broken Sound, shot a seven-under-par 65 to equal the low score of the day, and won by five. Marco Dawson finished second. Gary Nicklaus, meanwhile, closed with a 73 and tied for 51st in his debut on the 50-and-older circuit after turning pro for the second time in his career in the last month.
It was Langer’s 39th senior victory, moving him within six of one of two likely remaining targets for him: Irwin’s record 45 senior victories. The other might be Mike Fetchick’s record as the oldest winner on the senior tour, 63.
The Charles Schwab Cup winner in four of the last five years and the senior player of the year five straight years, Langer is off to a fast start in pursuit of extending those streaks. In two tournaments, he has a third and a first.
Langer played a bogey-free round and only made a single bogey in 54 holes, that coming at 17 on Saturday, after which he made an eagle to take the overnight lead.
“It was a very solid round,” he said. “What I was really happy with was my short game. My putter worked very well all week, and my short game in general. I think I made only two bogeys [only one, in fact] for the whole week. In these windy conditions on this golf course, that’s exceptional. I’m very, very blessed.”
This was a rare home-game win for Langer, who lives a 10-minute drive away, when the three traffic signals between home and the course are green. Of course, there is nothing stopping him these days.
Not only was it a win at home, it was a win as well for daughter Jackie, her first while caddying for her father.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s always fun having my kids caddie for me. Jackie had a couple of close calls last year, so she finally got her first W. We’re very proud of her.”