(The Sports Xchange) - Bernhard Langer was in position to win the Senior Players Championship for the fourth consecutive year, but stumbled down the stretch as Scott McCarron finished with a flourish to claim victory on Sunday in Owings Mills, Maryland.
American McCarron closed with a six-under-par 66 to claim one of the majors on the Champions Tour by one stroke over Langer, the dominant player on the tour, and Brandt Jobe.
The winning total was 18-under 270 at Caves Valley Golf Club.
Langer ended up with an uncharacteristic one-over 73. His chance to force a playoff on the 18th hole vanished when his six-foot birdie putt circled the cup but would not drop.
The 59-year-old German started the day in the lead and opened a three-shot margin after birdies on two of the first five holes. However, he bogeyed the 13th hole -- his first bogey in 31 holes -- and double-bogeyed the 17th after hitting his tee shot into the water on the par-three hole.
“I thought I hit a really good putt,” Langer said. “Hit a good chunk of the hole, too. But the big issue was 17, hitting a horrible shot there and then missing a six-or-seven footer for bogey. That was the killer.”
The major championship was the first for the 52-year-old McCarron.
“I thought it was a very difficult task to catch him or pass him,” McCarron said of Langer, “but I thought if I go out there and have a good stretch on the front nine and maybe put a little pressure on these guys, that you never know what happens, it’s golf.”
McCarron entered the final round six shots out of the lead. That tied the largest deficit the winner has overcome in Senior Players Championship history.
“To come from that far behind, especially with Bernhard Langer, is really something special,” McCarron said.
Langer was bidding for his 10th major title on the Champions Tour and could have become the first player in 90 years to win the same major four consecutive years. He previously won two majors this year.
”I played the same way I played the last few days, pretty aggressive, smart, whatever,“ Langer said. ”You know, I lost it. It’s very simple.
”This is going to hurt for a little while because it was within my grasp to win the championship. All I had to do was come home in even par more or less. Twenty under would have done it. But it’s easier said than done.”
Editing by Andrew Both