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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > Champions Tour > Mitsubishi Electric Championship > Round 3


Bernard Langer clinches season opener

Bernhard Langer picked up right where he left off last season on the Champions Tour.

Langer overcame a one-stroke deficit entering Sunday’s final round to win the Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The Player of the Year last season, Langer fired a 4-under-par 68 en route an 18-under 198 for the $1.8 million event. He held off Andy Bean, who finished one shot back after recording a 66 in each of the last two rounds.

“Really good way to start the year, really pleased with my putting this week, speed was good all week,” said Langer, who earned the $315,000 first prize in claiming his fifth career victory on the Tour.

Bean, despite admiring most of his play, believed he fell short because of his folly on the green.

“One (stroke) short of what we wanted, but all in all, a good week,” Bean said. “Played well. Could have made a couple more putts, but I was pleased.”

Brad Bryant, who was the leader entering the final 18 holes, plummeted to eighth after posting a 3-over 75 en route to a 204. He tied with Loren Roberts, who carded a 68 in the final round.

Bryant’s major downfall was at the par-3 fifth hole, where he posted a quadruple-bogey.

“Just didn’t want Brad to get too far ahead of me, and then he had a problem at No. 5,” Langer said. “At that point, I knew I might have been in the lead or close to the lead. Brad didn’t play too poorly. He just missed a couple of putts.”

Bryant was not the only one to struggle at No. 5, as none of the players in the 34-man field made a birdie at the hole for the second straight day.

Jay Haas finished third with a 15-under 201.

A two-time Masters champion, Langer built some momentum at the conclusion of Saturday’s round by carding birdies on four of his last six holes.

He sank three more on the front nine Sunday before beginning the back side with a flourish, recording three birdies on his first five holes. He notched pars the rest of the way to preserve his slim lead.

“Saw Andy was tied with me at No. 14 and knew I had to make a couple more (birdies) coming in,” Langer said.

Former champion Hale Irwin tied for 11th after firing a final-round 74. The 63-year-old Irwin, who won this tournament in 1997 and 2007, finished even with Tom Kite and Mark Wiebe at 206.

Fred Funk did not compete in the event this year, as the defending champion was sidelined with a right knee injury that plagued him for much of the 2008 season.

Funk may have been glad he was sidelined, as gusting winds became a hazard for some players. Bean, however, looked at the weather as a positive.

“I’ve won a number of events in windy areas,” he said. “I seem to play best in it. It makes you concentrate more.”


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