Langer defends US Senior Open crown

7/25/2011 12:38:20 PM
Bernhard Langer  (EuropeanTour)
Bernhard Langer (EuropeanTour)

Bernhard Langer will defend a Senior Major Championship for the second successive week when he attempts to retain his US Senior Open Championship at Inverness Club in Ohio.

Langer continued his comeback from a thumb injury that caused him to miss three months of the season when he finished tied 12th in last week’s Senior Open Championship, making light of the injury problem to record a highly respectable defence of the title he won in Carnoustie 12 months ago.

That victory represented his maiden Senior Major Championship and the 2004 Ryder Cup Captain completed back-to-back triumphs when he crossed the Atlantic the following week to claim the US Senior Open Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Seattle, holding off the challenge of Fred Couples.

“It was always one of my goals to win Majors on this Tour and it came in bunches last year,” said the German. “To win back-to-back Majors is always a great achievement but with an eight hour time difference and two completely different golf courses – from a links to a tight inland course –  these factors made winning even more special.

“We were playing in the home town of Fred Couples when he was in contention and 99 per cent of the crowd wanted him to win. It was like a Ryder Cup in that respect. So it was a great achievement and pretty astonishing. It was certainly something I will never forget.”

Langer heads to Inverness Club looking to become the first player since Allen Doyle in 2005 and 2006 to win consecutive US Senior Open titles. Langer’s performance at Walton Heath last week gave him encouragement ahead of his second title defence.

“The thumb is getting better,” he said. “The golf is getting better too. I saw a lot of bright moments last week and I just need to get rid of the few wayward shots.”

Joining Langer in the field are Boonchu Ruangkit, the 2010 European Senior Tour Order of Merit winner, Chris Williams, who finished runner up to the Thai in the race for the John Jacobs Trophy last year and Angel Franco of Paraguay, who finished third.

Other Senior Tour Members making the trip to Ohio include South African David Frost, who finished sixth in last week’s Senior Open Championship at Walton Heath, Ireland’s Mark McNulty, Australian Peter Senior, and Masahiro Kuramoto of Japan.

The home challenge will include Russ Cochran, the newly crowned Senior Open Champion who captured his maiden Senior Major at Walton Heath.

He said: “I won back‑to‑back last year so I'm certainly the kind of guy that carries those good feelings. I’ve played Inverness several times and I thought it was very tough.”

Also bolstering the American challenge will be Mark Calcavecchia, the Senior Open runner up, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and Corey Pavin, who was tied third at Walton Heath.

Inverness Club has previously hosted both the US Open Championship and the US PGA Championship on a number of occasions , as well as the US Senior Open in 1986, 1999 and most recently in 2003 when Bruce Lietzke was crowned champion.