Colin Montgomerie defeated Gene Sauers in a playoff to claim the U.S. Senior Open title Sunday at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Montgomerie failed to win in 71 PGA Tour majors and four Champions Tour majors until May, when he won the Senior PGA Championship. Now, he has won two of his past three majors to become just the fifth golfer to win both the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open in the same year.
The 51-year-old said he has become more patient with age.
“You have to play intelligent golf, and I think I’ve matured enough to realize that and play more within myself sometimes, including today – to play away from some pins so you don’t make bogies, and you realize that in major golf, pars are usually good enough, especially in the USGA events,” he said.
Montgomerie reached another milestone by winning his first professional playoff in nine tries. Most famously, he lost to Ernie Els at the 1994 U.S. Open and to Steve Elkington in sudden death at the 1995 PGA Championship.
“I’ve been close in these USGA championships a couple of times,” he said. “I’ve lost in a playoff and been one shot behind a couple of times, and you have to wait to (over age) 50 to finally win one.”
On the 18th hole of regulation, Montgomerie parred, then waited. Sauers’ second shot landed about 10 feet from the hole, giving him a chance to win the tournament with a birdie. His putt lipped out, and he parred to force the playoff.
“I guess I just may have misread that putt the first time around, didn’t play enough break,” Sauers said. “Hit a good putt, broke right at the hole at the last second.”
Montgomerie led at the end of the first and second days of the Senior Open, but entered Sunday’s action four shots behind Sauers. He shot a 2-under 69 to force the playoff and now feels he is capable of playing just as well on the PGA Tour.
“My golf is as good as it was in the ’90s, when I was No. 2 in the world,” he said. “It really is. I can’t see any difference between that.”
Montgomerie and Sauers entered the playoff at 5 under. Montgomerie entered the third extra hole with a one-shot lead, then sank a putt on 18 to par the hole and claim the win.
It was the first playoff at a U.S. Senior Open since 2002, when Don Pooley beat Tom Watson in a five-hole playoff.
David Frost and Woody Austin, making his Champions Tour debut, tied for third at 1 under. Jeff Sluman, Vijay Singh and Marco Dawson tied for fifth at even par.
Bernhard Langer, who was among the leaders for most of the tournament and entered the final day at 4 under, faltered on the back nine. He double-bogeyed 16 and finished at 6 over for the day and 2 over for the tournament, tied for ninth.
Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett shot a 69 and finished in eighth place at 1-over 285.
Women’s British Open
Mo Martin hit the best shot of her life, and it made her a major champion at the Women’s British Open in Southport, England.
Martin hit a 3-wood that hit the pin on the par-5 closing hole at Royal Birkdale, settling 6 feet for an eagle. An hour later, that turned out to be the winner when Inbee Park and Shanshan Feng both couldn’t stay under par.
Martin closed with an even-par 72 on such a windy afternoon that no one managed to break par in the final round. The 31-year-old American was the only player to finish under par.
Park and Feng each had a chance to force a playoff, but neither could birdie the 17th and 18th holes, both par 5s.
Brian Harman won his first PGA Tour title, using three straight birdie putts in the final five holes to pull away from veteran Zach Johnson to win the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
Harman had a 5-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under-262 total and a one-stroke victory over Johnson to win $846,000, along with the last exemption for next week’s British Open.
Harman, a 27-year-old Georgian in his third full season on the PGA Tour, withstood Johnson’s challenge by making three birdies beginning at No. 14 to get to 23 under with two holes to play. Johnson, playing four pairs ahead of Harman, birdied the 17th to get within a stroke, but ran out of holes.
Jhonattan Vegas raced into a tie for third with a closing 65, ending up tied with Jerry Kelly at 265. Scott Brown and Tim Clark tied for fifth at 266.
Spokane native Alex Prugh shot a 70 and finished at 9-under 275 and in a tie for 37th place.
Justin Rose won the Scottish Open in Aberdeen by two shots after a final round of 6-under 65, sealing back-to-back victories on both sides of the Atlantic and bolstering his confidence ahead of next week’s British Open.
The 2013 U.S. Open champion turned the last day into a procession, rolling in six birdies and going bogey-free on a windless Royal Aberdeen links course.
Unheralded Swede Kristoffer Broberg finished second on 14 under after a 66. That secured him a place at the British Open at Hoylake, along with other top-10 finishers Tyrrell Hatton and Scott Jamieson.
Rose, who started the day tied for the lead with Marc Warren, eased to his first European win since 2007 and backed up his victory at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional on the PGA Tour last month.
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