Langer beats Sluman in Senior Players playoff

 

The Sports Network

Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Bernhard Langer birdied the second playoff hole on Sunday to defeat Jeff Sluman and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship.

Langer closed with an even-par 70, while Sluman fired a 5-under 65 as they both ended at 15-under-par 265.

The pair returned to the 18th hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club for the playoff. The first time through both players reached the green with their third shots to the par-5.

Langer 2-putted from over 20 feet out for par. Sluman had about 13 feet for the win, but his birdie effort broke across the hole and stayed above ground. He tapped in for par and they returned to the 18th tee.

Sluman laid up in the fairway with his second, while Langer's second found the left rough. Sluman left his third just over 25 feet below the hole. Langer chipped his third to about seven feet.

After Sluman 2-putted for par, Langer drained his birdie putt for the win. The victory was his 21st on the Champions Tour, and his third senior tour major.

"It's been an amazing year, really fantastic year. I had a wonderful start winning the first tournament of the year in Hawaii and then lots of second and thirds and top-5s and then winning another one," said Langer, who has 12 top- 10 finishes in 12 starts this year. "Just playing really, really good golf. It was especially fun winning another major. I've come close on a number of occasions in the past and couldn't pull it off. Most namely the Senior British Open last year was one that I will not forget. But it's great to be back in the winner's circle amongst the majors."

Russ Cochran closed with a 3-under 67 to miss the playoff by a single stroke as he ended alone in third at minus-14.

Last year's winner Kenny Perry dropped three shots on the back nine to fall from the lead. He managed a 1-under 69 and ended in fourth at 13-under 267. Mark McNulty was two strokes back of him at minus-11 after a final-round 66.

Sluman slowly climbed up the leaderboard in the final round. He birdied the fifth, seventh and ninth to make the turn at minus-13. The former PGA Champion also birdied 14 and 16 before closing with a pair of pars to get in at minus-15. Langer fell back to him late to force the playoff.

Langer was two clear of Perry after four holes. Langer birdied the second and third, but dropped a shot at the fourth. Perry birdied the second and fourth, then made another birdie on No. 5 to move to 15-under and within one of Langer.

At the sixth, Langer made birdie to move two ahead of his playing partner, but there was a 2-shot swing at the seventh. Langer stumbled to a bogey, while Perry made birdie and all of a sudden, they were tied at 16-under.

Perry dipped one back as he bogeyed the eighth, but he bounced back with a birdie on the ninth. Langer also birdied the ninth to take a 1-shot lead to the final nine.

Around the turn, Langer dropped into a tie for the lead as he bogeyed the 10th. Perry tripped to a bogey on No. 12, but that gave him the lead as Langer struggled to a double-bogey.

Perry dropped another shot at 13 and they were tied at for the lead with Sluman at 14-under. Perry dropped another shot at 16 to slip to minus-13, and he ended there with back-to-back pars.

"It was a good day. I fought hard and shot 69. I wanted to shoot somewhere 65 or better, but it didn't happen," said Perry. "Four-under on the front nine, and 3-over on the back. I played 13 and 14, these two holes got me behind and I never could get back. All in all it was a good week."

After Sluman moved to 15-under, Langer joined him there with a long birdie putt on the 17th. At the par-5 18th, Langer had a chance at birdie and the win. He failed to convert, but claimed the playoff win over Sluman.

NOTES: Langer, who has also won the U.S. Senior and Senior British Opens, earned $405,000 for the victory ... Langer is the only player in Champions Tour history to win those two majors and the Senior Players Championship as well ... It marks the first time the winner of the Players Championship and the Senior Players Championship have come from the same country other than the United States ... The Champions Tour is off next week, but returns to action in two weeks with the next major, the U.S. Senior Open, where Perry will defend his title at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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