Bernhard Langer continues 'exceptional' start to season

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Bernhard Langer reacts after chipping in for a birdie on the 10th green. That shot helped him take control in the final round as he won for the second time this season.  CURTIS COMPTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CURTIS COMPTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bernhard Langer reacts after chipping in for a birdie on the 10th green. That shot helped him take control in the final round as he won for the second time this season.

DULUTH, Ga. — Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour player of the year, said he’s never had a better start to a season.

Langer relied on his short game to bail him out of trouble early and he added to his impressive start to the season by shooting 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes Sunday.

He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events. He also won the Ace Group Classic in Naples, Fla., and was the tour’s points leader even before his successful three days at TPC Sugarloaf.

“I’ve had very good starts before but this is exceptional so far,” Langer said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anything like this.”

Langer, who finished at 10-under 206, took control with a 40-foot chip-in for birdie on No. 10.

Langer opened with 73 on Friday before recovering with 66 on Saturday.

Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr. Pernice made a move with an eagle on No. 15 and added a birdie on 18 for 70.

Esteban Toledo, the second-round leader who played in the final group with Laner and Roger Chapman, fell out of contention with double bogeys on 11 and 12 on his way to 75.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Valencia, Spain, Raphael Jacquelin of France won a record-tying playoff at the Spanish Open on Sunday, edging Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole.

Jacquelin made a 5-foot birdie putt to end the back-and-forth battle with Kieffer in what started as a three-way playoff including Chile’s Felipe Aguilar.

The three players were tied at 5-under 283, with Jacquelin and Kieffer both carding 1-under 71s in the final round, while Aguilar finished with a 70.

It was Jacquelin’s fourth European Tour victory and his first in more than two years.

The only other European Tour event decided by a nine-hole playoff was the 1989 Dutch Open.

PGA LATIN AMERICA: In Cordoba, Argentina, Angel Cabrera made eagle on No. 18 on Sunday, then went on to win in a playoff at the event he calls his “fifth major.”

Cabrera, a former Masters Tournament champion who was coming off a loss to Adam Scott at Augusta last week, closed with 64 at Cordoba Golf Club.

He made birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Rafael Gomez.


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