Bernhard Langer breaks Champions age record in Richmond

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Bernhard Langer watches his tee shot in the 17th hole during the last day of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic golf tournament at Country Club of Virginia on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Richmond, Va. (Daniel Sangjib Min/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Bernhard Langer became the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history Sunday at 64, beating Doug Barron with a 6-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

The German star thrust both arms in the air after winning for the 42nd time on the 50-and-over tour and the first time since March 2000.

“I think it’s just encouraging to everybody that’s over 50 or 60, we can still perform at a very high level and you should never give up,” Langer said. “ And of course physical conditioning is one thing. You’ve got to be mentally tough, you’ve got to have good technique and nerves and all of rest of it.”

At 64 years, 1 month, 27 days, Langer broke the record of 63 years, 5 months, 4 days set by Scott Hoch when he teamed with Tom Pernice Jr. to win in the 2019 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf. Langer extended his streak of seasons with a victory to 15 and moved within three of matching Hale Irwin as the senior victory leader.

Langer closed with a 3-under 69, also birdieing the par-5 18th in regulation to match Barron at 14-under 202 on the Country Club of Virginia’s James River course.

“This has been a very special win,” Langer said. “It’s been a long time coming and I’ve had some very, very close calls, which was in a sense frustrating and disappointing. So when it actually happens and you win, it’s exciting.”

He had played in the final group six times previously this season without a victory. The two-time Masters champion has won nine times since he turned 60.

Barron also finished with a birdie in a 68. He missed a 6-foot birdie try in the playoff before Langer ran in the winner to end a string of five playoff losses.

“He’s just an anomaly. He’s incredibly, incredibly gifted and he’s one of my heroes and good friends,” Barron said about Langer. “I’m very fortunate to call him a very dear friend. If I’m going to get beat, I don’t mind getting beat by him.”

Langer, also the 2017 winner in Richmond, increased his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup season standings in the playoff opener.

Second-round leader Steve Flesch was third at 12 under after a 73. Ernie Els, who tied the course record with a 63, finished at 11 under along with Ken Duke (68), Tim Petrovic (71) and first-round leader Steven Alker (72).

Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot a 71 to tie for 47th at even par. He has three victories in five senior starts, winning the Constellation Furyk and Friends two weeks ago in Florida.

The second event in the playoffs is in two weeks in Boca Raton, Florida.

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