Sport

Monday 28 July 2014

Langer rolls back the years

Published 13/04/2014|18:42

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Bernhard Langer made a strong start to his final round (AP)

Bernhard Langer's unlikely bid to become golf's oldest major champion kickstarted the final round of the 78th Masters at Augusta National on Sunday.

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Langer, seeking a third green jacket 21 years after his second, began the day eights shots off the lead shared by American duo Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth.

But the 56-year-old German - Julius Boros was 48 when he won the 1968 US PGA Championship - birdied the first and eagled the par-five second to get back to level par for the tournament and close the gap to five.

Langer finished 25th in his 30th Masters last year, although he was briefly within two shots of the lead when he started his final round with three straight birdies.

Spieth, who was not even born when Langer won here in 1993, could become the youngest ever Masters champion on Sunday evening, while 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was also aiming to become the oldest winner of any major.

Spieth, 20, and 2012 champion Watson shared the lead on five under par, with Matt Kuchar and Sweden's Jonas Blixt on four under and Jimenez another shot back alongside American Rickie Fowler.

England's Lee Westwood, seeking a first major title at the 64th attempt, was another stroke back along with former US Open champion Jim Furyk and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

Former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal was the last European winner at Augusta in 1999.

Langer's charge faltered with a bogey on the third - at 350 yards the shortest par four on the course - but he hit back with a birdie on the fifth.

Defending champion Adam Scott's bid to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning back-to-back titles got off to a bad start however, the Australian three-putting the second to drop back to two over par.

Langer remained level par through the turn as Joost Luiten showed what kind of scores were possible, the Ryder Cup hopeful carding birdies at the 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th to post a closing 67.

At the other end of the field, Fowler had birdied the first to close to within a shot of the lead, while 54-year-old Fred Couples had birdied the first and second to move to three under.

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