Langer thrives when tournament comes to his home course
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Colin Montgomerie knows how to knock Bernhard Langer off the Champions Tour’s top spot.
“The goal is to redirect Langer to other sites, so we all have a chance of beating him,” Montgomerie said, smiling.
Not much chance of that happening this week.
The Allianz Championship, the tour’s first full-field event, starts Friday on The Old Course at Broken Sound Golf Club. Langer lives 15 minutes from the course, and he has used the home cooking to finish in the top three in five of the last six years, including a victory in 2010 when he holed out of a bunker for an eagle in a playoff.
Playing his first full season on the Champions Tour, Montgomerie won two major championships last year for his first two stroke-play titles in America. The victories at the Senior PGA Championship and the U.S. Senior Open enabled Montgomerie to finish second to Langer, his former Ryder Cup teammate, in the Charles Schwab Cup and the tour’s money list with more than $2 million.
“Those trophies are in a prominent spot in my trophy case,” said Montgomerie, who had five runner-up finishes in majors on the PGA Tour and also lost in a three-way playoff at the 1994 U.S. Open.
“I had been trying to win a PGA and a USGA event for 24 years. It was a classic case of you wait for a bus for 20 years, and then two come around the corner at the same time.”
Langer was more dominant. He also won two majors — including the British Senior Open by 13 shots — among his five victories to earn his fourth Player of the Year award. Langer finished out of the top 10 just three times in 21 starts — that didn’t include an eighth-place tie at the Masters — and set an all-tour record by hitting 78.3 percent of his greens.
“I’m most proud of the two major wins and the consistency throughout the year,” Langer said. “To be in contention literally almost every week is really hard to do out here. If you have one bad round, you’re not going to finish in the top 10.”
Langer serves as the unofficial host of the Allianz Championship. He hosts a dinner at his house every year for the players and then tries to beat them in the 54-hole event that pays $255,000 to the winner.
“It’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year just because I get to stay home,” Langer said. “As great as I played last year, I believe I can still get better.”
Michael Allen is the defending champion, beating Duffy Waldorf in a playoff with a birdie on the second hole after opening with a 12-under 60 in the first round.