Bernhard Langer created history by winning the 2023 US Senior Open.
Not only did the evergreen German claim a record 12th Senior Major Championship (extending the record he previously set), but Langer also moved ahead of Hale Irwin as the man to win the most titles on the Senior Tour.
His latest victory was the 46th win of his Seniors career.
This year’s US Senior Open was held at the idyllic Sentryworld in Wisconsin. Despite its beauty, the course proved it also had a nasty bite, with only eight of the 156-man field who started the week able to finish under par.
Heading into the week, many expected a battle between the Champions Tour’s biggest hitters – Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington. Stricker, who had already won the season’s first two majors, was looking to join an exclusive club by winning his third in succession, whilst Harrington was looking to defend the title he successfully won last season.
As one of the oldest players in the field, few would have believed that Langer would have the stamina to last through four tough rounds – but that’s exactly what the German did.
Leading after the second round, the two-time Masters Champion would never surrender his position at the top and headed into the final round with a two-stroke lead over Jerry Kelly and a three-shot advantage over the surging Stricker.
Getting his fourth round off to the perfect start, Langer birdied both the first and second holes to separate himself further from the chasing American duo.
He would benefit from a huge slice of luck on the par 5 fifth hole, as his second shot to the green miraculously hit the bank of the surrounding water and somehow didn’t disappear into the watery grave.
Forced to hit his third shot barefoot, he knocked his approach to within five feet and would go on to sink the birdie putt.
More birdies would follow on the seventh and tenth holes before a run of five pars would maintain his grip on the title.
There were hopes of a comeback when he bogeyed the sixteenth and seventeenth holes, but with Stricker unable to get some crucial putts to drop, the German headed up the final hole with a three-shot lead.
Finding trouble off his approach, he needed three goes to find the bottom of the cup but held his nerve to hole the vital putt and win the tournament by two strokes.
Not only did the German top the field in terms of fairways and greens in regulation – he was also a whizz with the flat stick, amazingly not hitting a chip shot for the entire tournament.
With his win in Wisconsin, he will start as a leading contender for the British Open which will be held at Royal Porthcawl at the end of July. Who to say that Langer won’t continue to defy us all and win his thirteenth Major title.