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Tom Watson still master of the links course

After winning his seventh major title on the links courses of Scotland, maybe Tom Watson was entitled to delve back into the history books.

Surviving two double bogeys at Muirfield to win his third Senior British Open in five years, he recalled how similar it was when he won at the same course 27 years ago for one of his five Open titles on the regular tour.

Like the double bogey 6s at the 10th followed by the birdie 3s at the 11th. For 1980 read 2007.

"I was thinking I was 26 again, I guess, and I ended up making double bogey (again) there," Watson said after fending off Mark O'Meara and Stewart Ginn for the latest of five triumphs in seniors majors.

"I made a birdie at 11 both in '80 in the final round and this year in the final round. It gave me a lot of breathing room. In '80 I think I had a four shot lead and here it gave me a three shot lead. It was a big deal."

While Watson romped to a four-stroke victory over Lee Trevino in 1980, when he was actually age 30, he squeaked a one-shot triumph over O'Meara and Ginn 27 years later after another double bogey 6 at the final hole.

Watson went to the last on Sunday three shots ahead of the pair but floated his tee shot into a fairway bunker where he needed two to get out.

It looked like a possible repeat of his collapse in the U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits three weeks ago where Watson threw away a three stroke lead, made 43 on the back nine and wound up fourth behind Brad Bryant.

This time Watson also missed the green with his fourth shot. But, putting from off the edge, got his fifth to within three feet of the cup and made that for a double bogey. It was enough for a 2-over 73 and an even par total of 284. O'Meara (72) and Ginn (75) finished 1 over.

"It's important to get it done when you have to," Watson said. "It didn't look like it at 18, but I did put it in the wrong place (off the tee). It was a stupid shot.

"I didn't have too much opportunity with the first (bunker) shot. I didn't get it up far enough and it rolled back in the bunker. But it rolled back in far enough where I had a shot out sideways. I got it up around the green somewhere, two-putted and that was it."

Watson said his latest triumph made up for his collapse at Whistling Straits.

"It was really disappointing, the Senior Open," Watson said. "But, as is the custom in my career, when I've had some bad tournaments, I've come back very quickly.

"I guess that's part of my personality. I hate failure. And I just want to get back to even. Winning this tournament was getting back to even."



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