Langer lifts trophy


POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii » Bernhard Langer hadn't done anything special to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary - which happened on Wednesday - until now.





        Final round:

Player, winningsPar
Bernhard Langer, $315,000-18
Andy Bean, $196,000-17
Jay Haas, $132,000-15
Mark McNulty, $104,750-14
Jeff Sluman, $104,750-14
Gil Morgan, $80,000-13
John Cook, $80,000-13



Putting the golf ball well all week, Langer took advantage of Brad Bryant's blow up at the par-3 fifth, and several missed opportunities by Andy Bean, to capture the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai with a closing-round 68 in suddenly blustery conditions.

His three-day total of 18-under 198 was only one shot better than Bean, who had the best closing round - 66 - to shoot a 17-under 199. Bean said he always plays best in windy conditions and he did just that as the famed Kona breezes finally made an appearance after being MIA all week.

It bothered Langer early on, as he bogeyed the par-4 second to fall three shots behind second-day leader Bryant, but birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 got him back in it as Bryant shot a 7 at the par-3 fifth to fade from view.

A little distracted after Bryant spent several minutes at the drop area arguing with rules officials that there were too many carts on the course, Langer remained focused enough to leave Bryant behind him to secure his fifth win on the Champions Tour.

“;I didn't look at the boards for the first few holes. I think it was 14 that it was time to have a glance and see where we are and how to play these last three or four holes,”; Langer said. “;I had just hit my tee shot and I see that Bean is tied with me. I knew I had to birdie one or two holes coming in.”;

He birdied the par-5 14th and, as he said, “;That was good enough.”;

Conditions changed drastically early yesterday morning. What started as a gentle Kona wind at about 11 a.m. turned nasty 2 hours later when the leaders teed off. Loren Roberts and Dr. Gil Morgan had the best early rounds, with Roberts going 4 under after six and Morgan dropping to 6 under after 11, but once the wind kicked up, neither went any lower for their rounds.

Langer shot 2 under on the front and 2 under on the back to hold off Bean, who had an even better closing round, but not quite good enough to track down the German. Blasting out of a fairway bunker at No. 18, Bean was only 10 feet away from a birdie at the last, but as had happened several times during his round, the ball came close, but just couldn't locate the cup.

“;It was one shot short of what we wanted, but all in all, a good week,”; Bean said. “;I played well ... if I had just made a couple of more putts coming in, but I was pleased. I just started a little too far back.”;

Bean began the final round four shots off the pace and said on Saturday he needed a 64 to have a chance to win. Had he managed that feat - and he came close to shooting that number and even better on six different holes - he would have won by one. His round was similar to Langer's on Saturday, when the German had four or five putts lip out.

That was not a problem yesterday, as Langer remained steady and true down the stretch. He had three big par saves at Nos. 8, 9 and 17, where he needed a 6-footer to stay on the lead. His only blemish on the back side was a bogey at the 13th. Coming off a rare birdie at the par-3 12th, he hit his drive under the lip of a fairway bunker.

“;My second shot got caught up in the wind and almost came right back at me,”; Langer said. “;I wasn't able to get up and down from off the green.”;

The rare back-nine error dropped him to 17 under for the tournament and into a tie with Bean, who was playing one hole and two groups ahead of Langer. Bean tried to put pressure on his fellow senior citizen, but the two-time Masters champion kept his eye on the first-place prize of $315,000. It's something Langer's wife, who was back in Florida with two of their three children, can enjoy when she and Langer celebrate their silver anniversary.

“;Winning certainly helps to get off to a good start,”; Langer said. “;We haven't done anything special yet to celebrate, but we will when I see her.”;

Mitsubishi Electric Championship

At Hualalai Resort Golf Club
Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii
Purse: $1.8 million
Yardage: 7,107; Par 72
Final Round
(Charles Schwab Cup points in parentheses)

Bernhard Langer (315), $315,00064-66-68198
Andy Bean (196), $196,00067-66-66199
Jay Haas (132), $132,00065-66-70201
Mark McNulty (105), $104,75069-66-67202
Jeff Sluman (105), $104,75065-67-70202
Gil Morgan (80), $80,00068-69-66203
John Cook (80), $80,00068-67-68203
Loren Roberts (65), $64,50071-65-68204
Brad Bryant (65), $64,50064-65-75204
Mark James (57), $57,00069-66-70205
Tom Kite, $47,00066-69-71206
Mark Wiebe, $47,00070-65-71206
Hale Irwin, $47,00065-67-74206
Ben Crenshaw, $37,00068-71-68207
D.A. Weibring, $30,00069-71-69209
Craig Stadler, $30,00072-65-72209
Tom Watson, $30,00069-67-73209
Jerry Pate, $30,00067-68-74209
Jim Thorpe, $24,00069-70-71210
Bobby Wadkins, $24,00070-69-71210
Tom Purtzer, $24,00069-70-71210
Curtis Strange, $24,00071-67-72210
Andy North, $24,00070-68-72210
Allen Doyle, $20,00069-72-70211
R.W. Eaks, $20,00066-71-74211
Lonnie Nielsen, $20,00072-65-74211
Mike Reid, $17,50068-74-70212
Gary Player, $17,50070-71-71212
Bruce Lietzke, $15,50069-72-73214
Eduardo Romero, $15,50073-69-72214
Bruce Vaughan, $15,50070-71-73214
Denis Watson, $14,50070-73-72215
Keith Fergus, $14,00075-71-70216
Pete Oakley, $13,50079-76-80235