Bernhard Langer Defies Years to Claim Season Title on Champions Tour
FRESH from becoming the oldest man to win a tournament on the PGA Tour Champions, Germany’s Bernhard Langer claimed the season-ending Schwab Cup for the sixth time as Phil Mickelson held on to win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Mickelson shot a six-under 65 at Phoenix Country Club, getting up-and-down at the par five 18th for birdie to reach 19 under. He joined Jack Nicklaus as the only player to win four of his first six starts on the over-50s circuit.
Langer, who battled back pain all weekend, closed with a 69. The extraordinary 64-year-old finished the week on 12 under and had to wait for Jim Furyk to see if he would win the Schwab Cup for the fifth time in seven years.
Furyk needed to win the tournament or tie for third and have Langer end up worse than eighth to take the title title. He holed a birdie putt on the par-four 17th to pull within two of the lead, but Mickelson's birdie at the 18th meant he was three adrift.
Needing an eagle at the final hole to pip Langer, Furyk pulled his second shot into the grandstand left of the 18th green and and had to take a drop. He hit his next shot across the green into the rough and got up and down for par. Furyk shot 71 to tie for fifth at 16 under.
Mickelson began the day three behind Furyk but took the lead with birdies at the 14th and 15th.
New Zealander Steven Alker, a PGA Tour Champions qualifier three months ago, shot 67 to finish second at 18 under. Darren Clarke had a 64 and David Toms a 65 to tie for third at 17 under.
Langer shot under his age for the first time in the third round, a sterling bogey-free 63 that included two eagles and moved him within six shots of Furyk's 16-under lead. He pulled within two shots with birdies at the first and fourth and then holed a putt for an eagle two at the short par four fourth to get to 14 under.
But Langer couldn't maintain the momentum. He three-putted for a bogey on the par-five seventh and dropped another shot at the 10th.
Alker had a dream finish to his first PGA Tour Champions season. He had no status after turning 50 in July and qualified for the Boeing Classic in August. Alker enjoyed top-10 finishes every week, culminating in victory at the TimberTech Championship in Florida.
He dropped a shot at the second hole but then reeled off five birdies to finish one behind Mickelson.
Kirk Triplett took the lead at 17 under with a birdie on the par-4 12th, but fell away with consecutive double bogeys at the 14th and 15th.
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