On the 20th anniversary of his second Green Jacket, Bernhard Langer rolled back the years at Augusta National to lead the over 50s challenge in the Masters Tournament along with reigning Senior Open Champion Fred Couples.
Langer began his final round with a hat-trick of birdies to get on to the leaderboard on Sunday, but dropped shots on the sixth, seventh, and tenth holes, followed by back-to-back double bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes which ultimately ended his challenge.
After opening his 30th Masters Tournament with rounds of 71, 71 and 72, the German, who was champion in 1985 and 1993, signed for a closing 76 to finish in a share of 25th position on two over par 290.
That represented the 55 year old’s best performance at Augusta National since he finished tied 20th in 2005.
“My start energised me greatly because that's what I needed,” said Langer. “I knew I had to go something like seven under to have to have a realistic chance to win the tournament. That's what I was trying to do. And to go with three birdies right off the deck, that gave me hope that I could do it. And then it just all went south.”
He added: “It was still a good week. If you had said I'll finish 25th at beginning of the week, I would have said, oh, that's not bad, that's pretty good. But the way things went, especially with my start, I was hoping for better.”
Meanwhile Couples, who had been firmly in contention at the halfway mark after opening rounds of 68 and 71, lost ground on Saturday with a 77 but closed with a round of 71 to finish in a share of 13th position on one under par.
The 52 year old American, who claimed the Green Jacket in 1992, continued his remarkable recent record at the season’s first Major, having now finished in the top 15 in each of the past four years, including sixth place in 2010.
Couples won The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Turnberry last July and will defend his title at Royal Birkdale from July 25-28.
Sandy Lyle, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Green Jacket, closed with a 71 to finish in a share of 54th position.
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