Bernhard Langer made a short birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Jeff Sluman to win the Senior Players Championship on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Langer appeared to be in trouble when his second shot on the par-5 18th ended up in the rough short of the green. He hit a brilliant pitch to 5 feet and made the putt after Sluman’s birdie attempt rolled just wide.
The win was the 56-year-old Langer’s third of the year and third major title on the Champions Tour. The two-time Masters champ shot an even-par 70 to finish at 15-under 265 at Fox Chapel.
Sluman had a bogey-free 65 to match Langer, but narrowly missed a birdie putt on the first playoff hole that would have won it.
Russ Cochran, who trailed by seven shots early on Sunday, had a 67 to finish third at 14 under.
Defending champion Kenny Perry tied Langer for the lead heading into the back nine, but faded badly over the closing holes. Perry’s 69 left him two shots out of the playoff.
Langer nearly missed out on the playoff himself. He fought a balky putter much of the day only to hole a 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th that lifted him into a tie with Sluman. The normally reserved German pumped his fist in disbelief after the ball dropped into the cup. He parred 18 to match Sluman at 15 under and escaped one more time when Sluman’s birdie attempt on the first playoff hole burned the right edge.
Sluman, the 1988 PGA champion, covered his hands in disbelief after the putt stayed out. Langer didn’t let the reprieve go to waste, birdieing the 18th on his third try to earn his first major title on the 50-and-over circuit since the 2010 Senior British Open.
Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett finished at 6-under 274 after a final round of 65.
Rose wins Quicken Loans in playoff
Justin Rose got his mistake out of the way early and won the Quicken Loans National in a playoff over Shawn Stefani in Bethesda, Maryland.
Tied for the lead on the 18th hole, Rose tried to hit through the trees and put it into the water. He atoned for the mistake by making a 15-foot bogey putt and got into a sudden-death playoff when Stefani made bogey on the 17th hole.
In the playoff, Stefani punched out from the trees and repeated Rose’s mistake by hooking his shot into the water. Stefani made double bogey, and Rose won with a par. Both finished at 4-under 280. It was Rose’s first win since the U.S. Open last summer.
Lewis ekes out narrow win
Stacy Lewis made a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole in the NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Arkansas, to finally win an official event in her adopted state. The top-ranked Lewis, who played at the nearby University of Arkansas, earned an unofficial win in the rain-shortened 2007 tournament as an amateur.
She closed with a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke victory. Lewis birdied three of her final holes for her third LPGA Tour victory of the year and 11th overall. She finished at 12-under 201 at Pinnacle Country Club. Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford tied for second.