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Langers win Father/Son Challenge

Bernhard and Stefan Langer started fast and finished faster Sunday to win their second consecutive Del Webb Father/Son Challenge title.

In a scene reminiscent of their victory last year, Stefan helped deliver the winning birdie on the final hole as the Langers held off last-ditch rallies, this time by Bob and Kevin Tway and Vijay and Qass Singh.

Just as they did in 2005, the Langers closed with an 11-under 61 at ChampionsGate Golf Club and finished at 24 under for a one-stroke victory, answering every challenge thrown at them down the stretch.

The Langers began the day with a share of the lead and opened with four birdies in a row, but in a scramble format, birdies get tossed around at a furious clip. With the Tways (60) and Singhs (61) already in the clubhouse, the Langers needed a birdie on the par-5 18th to avoid a three-way playoff.

From the right rough, two-time Masters champions Bernhard knocked his second shot on the green, some 80 feet from the cup. After a lag putt to within 6 feet, 16-year-old Stefan putted first and coolly rolled in the tournament winner.

He ought to be used to it. Last year, the Langers needed a birdie on the same hole and Stefan laced his 3-wood approach shot onto the green to set up an easy clinching birdie. At the time, Stefan was the youngest son on a winning team by a whopping six years.

"It definitely was less nerve-wracking because we've been there before and knew how fun it was to win," said Stefan, a high school sophomore in Boca Raton.

The Tways made a couple of runs, finally moving into a tie with the Langers after birdies on the three closing holes, but missed a crucial eagle putt from 15 feet on the 18th. But the Tways probably lost the tournament when they made pars on Nos. 13-15.

"Those three holes just killed us," Bob said.

Bernhard Langer became the second father to win consecutive titles in the event. Alternating between his two boys, Ray Floyd won consecutive titles with both Robert (1995-97) and Ray Jr. (2000-01). Though the money was unofficial, the $200,000 first prize marked Langer's best payday of the year after finishing 138th in earnings on the PGA Tour.

"If everything goes well, we should be in contention for years," said Bernhard, a two-time Masters champion. "He's going to get better, and hopefully, I won't get a whole lot worse."

Seemingly well out of the late mix, Vijay and Qass Singh nearly pulled a miracle when the latter, 16, rolled in an eagle putt at No. 16 to pull within a stroke of the lead. Vijay added an eagle on the 18th with a clutch putt from 10 feet, but they came up one shot shy.

"It's a big advantage to be in the last group," Bernhard said, "Because you always know what you need to do."

Like many other fathers before him, Bob Tway wasn't too wrung out over who won or lost, since playing alongside his 18-year-old son for the first time in tournament play was a blast in itself. Tway said he now knows why dozens of dads with the requisite major-tournament victory annually lobby the tournament, the most popular of the Silly Season schedule among the players, for an invitation.

"Oh, yeah, it's just a wonderful week," he said. "Hopefully, we'll have a chance to do it again."

 

 




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