PETER Lonard and Karrie Webb had their chances at the Senior British Open and Women’s Scottish Open respectively, whilst it was young Ryan Ruffels exciting Aussie golf fans with his performance at the Canadian Open.
Lonard was making his senior debut at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales and Wales and playing in the final group Sunday alongside Bernhard Langer and Corey Pavin.
Langer was going for a record 10th senior major and going into the final round with a three stroke lead many though he would replicate his performance of 2014 when in the same event at the same course he streeted the field by 13 strokes.
The German went into the final round at 5-under, four ahead of Pavin and five clear of Lonard. The trio were the only players in the field not in the black.
Langer never really got going, with two bogies and a string of pars in his first 17 holes.
Meanwhile playing partner Lonard was putting on an impressive ball striking display, with his crisp, punchy swing style very suited to the seaside links course.
The newly turned 5O year old began with a bogey but birdies on 6 and 8 had him well in contention.
Unfortunately the Sydneysider just couldn’t get the putter happening. He bogied 11 and had a number of birdie of opportunities on the back without a single success.
The putting woes were typified on the par five 18th, where Pavin had a 25 foot birdie opportunity, Langer was off the back of the green for two, and Lonard had a 20 footer for eagle.
Pavin sunk his birdie to take second alone, Langer two putted for birdie and a three stroke win, and Lonard three putted to slip back to a share of third.
Still, it was certainly a great senior debut, and Lonard is now looking forward to a possible very successful senior career either in Europe or on the US Champions Tour.
After his bitter/sweet final hole, the Aussie didn’t think the impressive debut had exceeded expectations.
“No, I don’t think so. I’ve been around the block a few times over the last 30 years,” Lonard said.
“I know I can play all right. It’s just a matter if the putter works or not. I love this sort of golf. I was really looking forward to coming here. You know, fell a bit short but I gave it my best and that’s all I can do.
“I was really looking forward to coming over here. The Open Championship was always one of my favourite tournaments. I think the last one I played in was Hoylake in 2008 maybe. I just love the way you have so many ways to play the game. You can hit it on the ground and you can flop it around the greens.
“There’s so many shots, different ways to do the same thing. It’s great, imaginative golf and I was really looking forward to coming here. I thought my game was pretty good. I was probably a little short on the punch shots. I haven’t hit them for so long, I was definitely a bit rusty with them as far as control goes, but it was great to be out here.
“I hung in there. I think tee-to-green I was pretty good. The first two days, I putted beautifully. Yesterday and today, I really struggled with the pace, with the longer putts. Suppose I’m going to having to away and work on that, and hopefully improve next week [when, thanks to his finish, he will have a start in the Scottish Senior Open.”
Langer’s record breaking win
Bernhard Langer became the most successful golfer in Senior Major Championship history as he secured his third Senior Open and 10th Senior Major overall.
The 59 year old, victorious at this event in 2010 and 2014, was previously tied with South Africa’s Gary Player on nine Senior Major victories.
He joined Player and Tom Watson as three-time winners of the Senior Claret Jug.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to have won here again,” said Langer. “There might have been a little extra pressure, just knowing that I won here by 13 a few years ago. I hit my first tee shot straight into a gorse bush on the left and it was unplayable so, looking back now, it ended a lot better than it started.
He was more than proud of his historic achievement in becoming the most successful senior golfer ever.
“We know what great players Tom Watson and Gary Player are, especially as Tom has maybe the best links course record of anybody. He’s one of the best wind players that I’ve seen, maybe the best; and we all know what Gary has achieved in his career. I’m very honoured to be mentioned with those two.”
David Mckenzie aces the 8th
Also making an impressive senior debut was Melbourne’s David McKenzie.
A 50 year old for less than a week, McKenzie aced the 8th hole as part of a final round 2-under 60 that saw him finish at 2-over for the tournament tied 9th.
Karrie Webb “gutted” in Scotland
Karrie Webb looked set for her 42nd LPGA Tour title at the Scottish Ladies Open when she chipped in for eagle on the 14 hole at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire, Scotland, to lead the co-sanctioned event by two strokes.
Things started to go awry for the seven time major winner when she missed a short par putt at 16 that saw her fall into a tie for the lead with Mi Hyang Lee, who was clubhouse after a fast finishing 66.
Webb then hit what she thought was a perfect tee shot on 17 only to end up in a fairway bunker. After having to play backwards to extricate herself she put her next shot in a greenside bunker and ended up with a heart-wrenching double bogey.
Webb was two behind going up the last but didn’t know it as there was no leaderboard. She played safe and thought her final birdie would be enough for a win.
“No leaderboard on the last, so I didn’t know I had to make that,” an upset Webb said afterwards.“It’s pretty bad to not have a leaderboard on the last. Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever been – that hasn’t had a leaderboard on 18.”
The 42 year old ended up in a tie for second and will head into the Women’s British Open next week with mixed feelings.
“Very gutted,” she said of her disappointing closing holes.
“I was on a high, making the eagle, and then I had a very nice up-and-down on the next. “Obviously there were nerves there, but there was a good calmness there. I felt really good about how I played this week and I actually felt good about how calm I was today, considering it’s been a while since I’ve been in contention.
“Hopefully that bodes well for next week.”
Ruffels ruffles feathers in Canada
After opening rounds of 67-67-68 there were high hopes for 19 year old Ryan Ruffels when he went into the final round of the Canadian Open tied in fifth position, along with the defending champion, Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas.
However a front nine of 39 put paid to the Florida born Aussie’s chances and he eventually finished with a 4-over 76 to be T29.
Vegas shot a 7-under 65 then beat Charley Hoffman (68) in a sudden death playoff.
Canadian Open final round Highlights Video