LAKE ORION, Mich. – The U.S. Senior Open seemed all wrapped up and ready for the trophy presentation after third-round leader Bernhard Langer coasted out to a four-stroke lead by Saturday. As one of the game’s steadiest players, few believed he could blow such a margin on Sunday.
Roger Chapman shot a 4-under 66 Sunday to win the Open by two strokes at 10 under at Indianwood Country Club. He had won the Senior PGA Championship by the same margin two months ago on the other side of Michigan.
Chapman, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin are the only players to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship in the same year.
“It’s a true honor,” the Englishman said.
Before this year, his career highlight was a European Tour win in Brazil in 2000.
Langer (72), Fred Funk (67), Tom Lehman (68) and Corey Pavin (68) finished tied for second at 8-under 272 at the Champions Tour’s fourth of five majors. Pavin’s two-stroke penalty after his first round for hitting a ball that moved a fraction of an inch proved to be costly.
Langer spoiled his shot at winning his second U.S. Senior Open. The German said Saturday if he closed with a 2- or 3-under round, it would be difficult for anyone to catch him. When Langer gave up two shots at No. 2, he gave the field a chance to pass him.
Langer pushed his second tee shot to the right under a line of trees on the 396-yard, par-4 second hole. After walking more than 100 yards to examine the path of his approach shot, he hit a low shot that landed against the lip of a greenside bunker. Langer tried to play what he called a “special shot,” and ended up sailing it over the green to set up a double bogey.
“I knew there was a lot of golf left and I was still in the lead,” he said. “If I shoot under par from that point on, I’ll still be in good shape, but I couldn’t make a putt.”
- Chapman took the lead for good with a birdie at No. 8 just after Langer, the 54-hole leader, made bogey at No. 7. Chapman increased his lead to two strokes midway through the final round after a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 14.
- He becomes the eighth player to win the U.S. Senior Open in his first appearance, joining Roberto DeVicenzo (1980), Arnold Palmer (1981), Dale Douglass (1986), Lee Trevino (1990), Larry Laoretti (1992), Don Pooley (2002) and Peter Jacobsen (2004).
- Chapman claimed his second victory on the Champions Tour in his 21st career start on the circuit and joins Michael Allen as the second multiple winner on the Champions Tour in 2012.
- He becomes the third foreign-born player to win the U.S. Senior Open in the last five years and the seventh overall.
- He is the first male English USGA champion since Tony Jacklin claimed the U.S. Open Championship at Hazeltine Golf Club in 1970.
- He also is the fifth player to earn his first two victories on the Champions Tour in majors.
- It equals the third biggest comeback in the final round in U.S. Senior Open history.
- His four rounds in the 60s was just the sixth time in Open history to have four straight sub-70 scores.
- He has earned a berth in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia.
U.S. Senior Open notes:
- After 23 consecutive winners from the final grouping, the last two Champions Tour events have been won by players coming from outside the last pairing on Sunday.
- Bernhard Langer has now finished T2 in the last two majors he has played (T2-2012 Regions Tradition) on the Champions Tour and has been among the top 10 in his last five senior majors.
- Tom Lehman has now finished first or second in each of the last three majors on the 2012 Champions Tour. After finishing T29 at the Senior PGA Championship, Lehman successfully defended his Regions Tradition title and then finished second at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
- Olin Browne finished T36 in defense of his title.
DEERE JOHNSON VICTORY
Zach Johnson, a Iowa native who is on the board of directors for the John Deere Classic, finally won the tournament Sunday after a two-hole playoff with Troy Matteson.
Johnson defeated Matteson with a birdie-3 on the second playoff hole (No. 18). He hit an approach out of a fairway bunker to within 14 inches of the cup. Matteson missed his 30-foot putt for a par.
Final Round Leaders: Zach Johnson 264 (-20) (wins playoff); Troy Matteson, 264 (-20); Scott Piercy, 266 (-18); John Senden, 267 (-17).
- He improves to 3-0 in playoffs (2007 AT&T Classic and 2009 Valero Texas Open).
- The Cedar Rapids, IA native extended his streak of sub-70 rounds in the John Deere Classic to 16.
- Johnson has played 38 rounds at the John Deere Classic with only five of them being over par.
- He earned his ninth career PGA Tour victory at the age of 36 years, 4 month and 22 days in his 230th career start.
- Johnson has multiple wins season in 2007, 2009 and now 2012.
- In his nine career wins, Johnson has come-from-behind six times and held the outright lead the other three times.
- Johnson was four shots behind Matteson starting the final round. Johnson’s previous largest come-from-behind win was when he trailed Ryuji Imada and Troy Matteson entering the final round of the 2007 AT&T Classic.
- Matteson earns a trip to the British Open as a result of being the leading player not otherwise exempt, among the top five finishers and ties this week. The tournament starts Thursday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
- Matteson entered the final round with a three shot lead over three time defending champion Steve Stricker and a four shot lead over Johnson.
- He earned his first top 10 of the season. He was looking for his third Tour win. He also could have become the third wire-to-wire Deere winner. Since 1971, the Scott Hoch in 1980 and David Frost in 1992.
- Stricker failed in his attempt to become only the fifth different player in PGA Tour history to win the same tournament four consecutive times. Tiger Woods (2005-08 Farmers Insurance Open) is the last player to win the same event four consecutive years.
- He is now 37 for 40 in rounds at par-or-better at the John Deere Classic, dating to 1993.
- Since the event moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000, Stricker is 108-under-par through 30 rounds.
- Stricker is the only Tour player with multiple wins each of last three years (2009, 2010, 2011). He has one win so far this season (Hyundai Tournament of Champions).
John Deere Classic Notes:
- The last playoff at the John Deere Classic was in 2008 when Kenny Perry won. This was the eighth playoff in tournament history.
- Since moving to the TPC Deere Run in 2000, the third-round leader has held on for the win six times, most recently Steve Stricker last year.
- Twenty-four players who played here are taking advantage of the John Deere charter flight Sunday night to Britain to compete in the Open Championship. They are: Sang-Moon Bae, Jonathan Byrd, Chad Campbell, K.J. Choi, Daniel Chopra, Stewart Cink, Tim Clark, John Daly, James Driscoll, David Duval, Todd Hamilton, Charles Howell III, Zach Johnson, Troy Kelly, Garth Mulroy, Carl Pettersson, Ted Potter, Jr., Chez Reavie, John Senden, Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, Mark Wilson and Y.E. Yang. Ben Crane is an alternate into next week’s field, but has a spot on the plane.
- Rookie Billy Hurley, who has only made seven of 20 cuts on Tour, finished T8 for his second top 10. Both top 10s have come in the last three weeks (T4/AT&T National).
- Rookie Scott Brown, who finished 7th, had missed his wife Allison giving the birth to their first child last Sunday as he missed the birth as he was flying back from the The Greenbrier Classic. He flew to the John Deere Classic the next day.
- Jamie Lovemark, who had back surgery after just nine events in his rookie season last year, is competing on a Major Medical Extension in 2012. Coupled with 2011 earnings ($34,693), Lovemark had 16 events to make $633,473, equaling No. 125 from the 2011 money list to extend his Extension through the remainder of the 2012 season. This week’s John Deere Classic is that 16th start of the season. Through 15 events this year, he has earned $97,111 and his T45 finish didn’t make it.