Sport Golf

Monday 19 March 2018

Lights go out on Langer and Wiebe

Arthur Richardson

Bernard Langer and Mark Wiebe fought so hard against the dying of the light at Royal Birkdale that the Senior Open Championship was stretched into utter darkness and near farce.

A nightmare double-bogey six by Langer on the final hole in regulation left him tied with American Wiebe on nine-under after two late storm delays.

The two 55-year-olds then agreed to head straight back out for a sudden-death showdown on 18... incredibly, after both sank four-footers for par, out they went again into the pitch blackness to continue their head-to-head battle for the €250,000 winner's cheque.

Unlike the 2002 Volvo Masters, which Langer agreed to share with Colin Montgomerie as darkness fell on Valderrama, the Senior Open must be played to a finish.

And that must take place this morning as, yet again, the German and his American rival made astonishing pars on the second tied hole.

It had been shocking to see Langer – two ahead playing his 72nd hole – leave a shot in a bunker at 18 and then miss from inside six feet for a title-clinching bogey.

A final round of even-par 70 left him level with Wiebe, who closed with a 66.

Germany's two-times Masters champion is bidding to claim his third senior Major title to go with his US Open and British Open successes in 2010.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Des Smyth earned €20,700 in a share of 14th place on two-over after a 68 yesterday, the Bettystown native's third sub-70 round in succession on his favourite of Britain's great championship links.

Philip Walton, the only other Irishman to make the cut, earned €3,141 in a share of 65th on 15-over after a final-round 75.

Irish Independent

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