Just when Bernhard Langer looked set to win the Senior Players Championship for the fourth time in a row on Sunday, the iconic German stumbled coming down the closing stretch and in the end, it was seasoned American Scott McCarron who got the job done.
McCarron came from six shots back at the start of the day - the largest deficit ever overcome in the Senior Players - to close with a six-under-par 66 and captured by one critical stroke his first senior major from fellow American Brandt Jobe and Langer, who, for the past couple of years, has been the dominant player on the senior tour.
McCarron's winning total was an 18-under 270 and it was posted at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Langer ended up with a 1-over 73 and a 271 total after he saw his hopes of forcing a playoff on the 18th hole go up in smoke when his six-foot birdie putt spun around the back lip of the cup but stayed out and Jobe posted a level par 72 to tie for second with Lager.
The 59-year-old German started the day in the lead and opened a three-shot margin after birdies on two of the first five holes.
But he bogeyed the 13th – his first bogey in 31 holes – and then double-bogeyed the 17th after hitting his tee shot into the water on this par-three hole.
"I thought I hit a really good putt (at 18)," Langer said. "Hit a good chunk of the hole, too. But the big issue was 17, hitting a horrible shot there and then missing a six-or-seven footer for bogey. That was the killer."
"I thought it was a very difficult task to catch him or pass him," McCarron said of Langer, "but I thought if I go out there and have a good stretch on the front nine and maybe put a little pressure on these guys, anything could happen for that's golf."
"To come from that far behind, especially playing against Bernhard, is really something special," McCarron said.
Langer, who had already won two majors this year, was bidding for his 10th senior major and could have become the first player in 90 years to win the same major in four consecutive years.
"I played the same way I played the last few days, pretty aggressive, smart, whatever," Langer said. "But I lost it. It's that simple.
"This is going to hurt for a little while because it was there to win. All I had to do was come home in even par figures, more or less. A 20-under would have done it. But that's easier said than done."
LEADING FINAL SCORES
270 Scott McCarron (USA) 67 68 69 66
271 Bernhard Langer (GER) 65 67 66 73, Brandt Jobe (USA) 66 68 65 72
272 Miguel Angel Jimenez (ISP) 68 71 67 66
275 Steve Flesch (USA) 65 71 69 68
277 Joe Durant (USA) 72 68 70 67, Fred Funk (USA) 71 70 69 67, Colin Montgomerie (SCO) 71 69 69 68
278 Gene Sauers (USA) 69 72 71 66, Tommy Armour III (USA) 70 71 70 67, Kirk Triplett (USA) 69 71 71 67, Stephen Ames (CAN) 71 70 70 67, Kevin Sutherland (USA) 70 72 69 67
279 Scott Dunlap (USA) 66 71 74 68, Tim Petrovic (USA) 73 71 67 68, Jay Haas (USA) 70 73 68 68, Corey Pavin (USA) 65 68 71 75
280 Paul Goydos (USA) 71 73 71 65, Wes Short, Jr. (USA) 71 73 70 66, Lee Janzen (USA) 68 75 69 68, Tom Lehman (USA) 71 68 71 70, Vijay Singh (FIJ 71 70 67 72.
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