Monday, May 21, 2018

Langer recovers, wins Senior Players Championship in playoff

PITTSBURGH — Bernhard Langer gave away a four-shot lead during the final round of the Senior Players Championship on Sunday and wondered where his game had gone.

"I was like, 'This is not Bernhard Langer,' " he said.

But the two-time Masters champion regained his composure to edge Jeff Sluman on the second hole of a playoff for his third major title on the Champions Tour.

Langer made a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 17 to tie Sluman at 15-under 265. In the playoff, he birdied No. 18 after a pitch from the rough to 5 feet for his 21st win on the tour.

"It comes in all shades, I guess," said Langer, who shot even 70.

It was a decidedly different outcome than Langer's previous playoff in a major. He let a two-shot lead on the 18th hole at last year's Senior British Open slip away before losing to Mark Wiebe on the fifth extra hole. Langer called the loss "one that I will not forget."

Sluman had a bogey-free 65 but barely missed a birdie putt on the first playoff hole that would have won it.

"I'm not going to hit a better putt than that," he said. "It just didn't go in."

It never seems to for Sluman, at least in playoffs. He fell to 1-9 in his pro career in extra holes.

Said Sluman: "If I'm in another playoff, bet on the other guy."

PGA: Justin Rose made par on the first playoff hole to beat Shawn Stefani and win the Quicken Loans National in Bethesda, Md.

Rose was tied for the lead entering the final hole of regulation when he tried to squeeze a 4-iron through a tiny gap in the trees from 209 yards. Instead, he it into a pond.

On the green, he learned Stefani had just made bogey at No. 17. He then made a 15-footer for bogey.

"Everything else was forgotten at that point," said Rose, who shot 1-under 70 to finish at 4-under 280. "I wiped the slate clean and just focused on my putt."

The playoff started at No. 18. And Stefani sent his shot into the pond.

"That's the way it goes," said Stefani, who shot 70. "It was great to have a chance to win."

Third-round leader Patrick Reed had a two-shot lead at the turn but double bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11. He shot 41 on the back for 77 and a tie for 11th.

LPGA: Stacy Lewis made a 7-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to take the NW Arkansas Championship, her first official win in her adopted state.

Lewis, a Texan who played at the University of Arkansas, earned an unofficial win in the rain-shortened 2007 tournament as an amateur. Sunday, she shot 6-under 65 for a 12-under 201 and one-stroke win over Lydia Ko (65), Cristie Kerr (67) and Angela Stanford (67). Kerr missed a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 18.

"This place just means so much to me," Lewis said. "It's just crazy how far I've come. It's just really, really special to win here."

Michelle Wie entered the day with a two-shot lead but shot 73 to tie for eighth. She finished with 35 putts after needing 28 in the first round and 29 in the second.