TURNBERRY, Scotland – Fred Couples overcame a fading Bernhard Langer on the back nine then drilled two birdie putts on the final two holes to win the Senior British Open by two strokes over Gary Hallberg.
The 1992 Masters champion shot a 3-under 67 in the final round to finish at 9-under 271 on the Ailsa course and win his first tournament in Britain. Hallberg shot a 66, equaling the best round of the day with American Mark Calcavecchia and Carl Mason.
English pair Barry Lane (69) and Mason and American Dick Mast (67) had a share of third at 4 under. Overnight leader Langer dropped five shots in five holes on the way home to shoot a 75 and slip into a tie for sixth.
This is an unfortunate pattern for Langer. He also was the third-round overnight leader by four strokes at the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago and ended up losing by two.
”I’ve never won an Open Championship, so this is the next best thing. And I believe I now get into the (British) Open at Muirfield next year, which is great,” Couples said. ”It was a fun day out there. Bernhard and I were neck and neck for a long time. Then I saw Gary had birdied the 17th to draw level, so I knew I needed to birdie 17. I hit a couple of great shots down 17 and two-putted for birdie, then the hole got in the way for my birdie putt at 18.
”It’s my biggest senior tour win by far on a truly great golf course. I can now say I won the Senior British Open at Turnberry in really challenging weather.”
Langer, denied Couples the U.S. Senior Open three years ago in a final-round duel at Sahalee, was locked in a duel until he double bogeyed No. 12 and the American birdied for a three-shot swing. Langer then bogeyed three holes in a row from No. 14 to slip out of contention.
Hallberg posted the best round of the tournament with a 63 on Friday before following that up with a 73 on Saturday. On Sunday, he made six birdies and didn’t drop a shot. Calcavecchia had four birdies and no bogeys, while Mason had three birdies, an eagle and just one bogey.
Tom Watson closed with a 69, his third sub-par round of the tournament to share 10th place at 1-under 279.
”I played with Carl Mason and he played a wonderful round of golf. I played well and I love being back at Turnberry,” Watson said. ”It has had a lot of significance for me in my career.”
Watson beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open at Turnberry in what is known as the ”Duel in the Sun.” He also beat Mason in a 2010 playoff at Turnberry to win the first of his three Senior British Open titles.
Piercy emerges a Canadian champion
ANCASTER, Ontario – Scott Piercy shot his fourth consecutive round in the 60s at Hamilton Golf and Country Club and overcame Robert Garrigus and William McGirt down the stretch for the victory in one of the oldest golf competitions on the continent.
Scott Piercy, who shot a 17-under 263, was in the scoring office watching the final twosome when he was declared the champion. Both Garrigus and McGirt missed long putts that could have forced a playoff:
- It is Piercy’s second PGA Tour in his 120th career Tour start.
- Scott Piercy is ranked 13th in the FedExCup standings.
- Piercy earned an invite to the event next week in Akron, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He was set to defend his 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open next week, but instead he will be making his first World Golf Championships appearance, at Bridgestone.
- He earned a two-year PGA TOUR exemption that will take him through the 2014 PGA Tour season.
- The victory at the RBC Canadian Open makes Scott Piercy the 28th different PGA Tour winner in 2012. He is the 14th player in his 30s to win this season and is the 14th different U.S. golfer to win the RBC Canadian Open since 1990.
- After missing both the U.S. Open and AT&T National cuts in June and earlier this month, Piercy has reeled off 12 consecutive rounds in the 60s and is 45-under during that period.
- He tied for 12th at The Greenbrier Classic (66-68-68-68), was solo third at the John Deere Classic (65-69-67-65) and was 17-under this week in winning the RBC Canadian Open.
- Becomes the 14th different American to win the RBC Canadian Open since 1990.
- Garrigus’ runner-up finish is his third in 2012. He was second to Mark Wilson at the Humana Challenge and lost in a playoff to Luke Donald that also included Jim Furyk and Sang-Moon Bae.
- It was also his fourth second-place performance in three years, having lost in a playoff to Lee Westwood at the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
- In three previous RBC Canadian Open starts, Robert Garrigus’ best finish was a tie for 34th in 2007.
- Until he missed his 7-foot, 5-inch par putt on the par-3 16th hole, Robert Garrigus had gone 41 holes without a bogey at Hamilton.
- Robert Garrigus improves to 19th in the FedExCup with three events he can still play before the Playoffs begin. The $2,079,256 he’s already won this season represents a career-high, surpassing the $1,503,923 he won a year ago.
- With his tie for fifth last week at the True South Classic and his tie for second the RBC, it marked the first time McGirt had back-to-back top-10s since he had consecutive ties for seventh in Georgia on the 2010 Web.com Tour (South Georgia Classic in Valdosta and the Stadion Classic at UGA in Athens).
- He improved to 61st in the FedExCup standings.
- The tie for second earned William McGirt an invitation to the PGA Championship next month at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in South Carolina. It will be McGirt’s first major championship appearance.
RBC Final-round notes:
- The third-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win 10 of the PGA Tour’s 32 stroke-play events in 2012. The last to do so was Scott Stallings, at last week’s True South Classic.
- The last third-round leader of the RBC Canadian Open to hold on for the win was Chez Reavie in 2008. In the last two Opens held at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, 2006 champ Jim Furyk was a stroke back of the 36 hole leaders. In 2003, Bob Tway was five behind the leader at the halfway point.
- In 2003 and 2006, the last two times Hamilton has hosted the RBC Canadian Open, players completed 933 total rounds, and there were only four rounds at 63 or better. This week, there were 10 such rounds.
- Graham DeLaet was the low Canadian at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open, tying for 56th. He earned the River Meade Cup for that distinction. DeLaet shot rounds of 69-69-70-70—278. In addition to DeLaet, there were three other Canadians who made it to Sunday.
- Vijay Singh, the 2004 RBC Canadian Open champion, recovered from a bogey-6 at the fourth hole with an eagle-2 at the fifth. After a 283-yard drive, Singh chipped in from 47 feet en route to a 67 and a tie for seventh.
Evian Masters won by Park
Four years after taking home the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open title, Inbee Park returned to the LPGA Tour winner’s circle with a two-shot victory at the 2012 Evian Masters.
Park, who entered the day tied for the lead with Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy, displayed
a hot putter while firing a 6-under 66 to finish at 17-under-par and capture her second career LPGA Tour victory,
He had eight birdies on the day, five on the back nine, as she staved off charges
from a number of players down the stretch. That included LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb, who shot a 5-under 67 to finish in a T2 with Stacy Lewis at 15-under-par.
Her putter continued to hold steady and she finished with three straight birdies to secure her win. She needed just 22 putts on Sunday and many including her playing partner, Stacy Lewis were impressed by the way she managed the greens at the Evian Golf Club.
“This green is really tough to putt, and I really had tough time last five years putting over here and didn’t play good over here,” said Park. “ I was not really confident with the greens. This year I came and the greens were a lot quicker than last five years. I like the fast greens, so I think that really suited me as well.”
- The victory comes in what has been a good year for Park so far. She came into this week having tallied top-10 finishes in each of her last four events including a previous season-best T2 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic when she lost in a playoff to Brittany Lang.
- Played in over 80 tournaments over nearly four years since winning the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open.
- With her $487,500 first-place check, jumps to seventh on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with $924,241.
- Fifth consecutive top-10 finish dating back to the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship.
- Now eighth in the Rolex Player of the Year race with 57 points.