NEWPORT BEACH (Calif.) Ernie ElsHe kept making birdies, no matter how he gripped it Sunday. This led to him shooting a 6-under 65 to win and deny the Hoag classic. Bernhard LangerYou have a chance to set the career record for victory on the PGA Tour Champions.
Els started the final round five strokes behind Langer. Langer then rolled in three straight birdie putsts to get in it. He closed it out with a 65-yard bunker shot up to 12 feet and a birdie at the 18th hole, just as Langer began to falter.
Langer holds the record for most career wins on the PGA Tour Champions with 45, tied for second. Hale Irwin. The 65-year old German started the final round with a one shot lead and made an early birdie. He was still tied for first place when he made two birdies on the back nine. He also failed to make birdie on par 5s.
Langer finished seventh with a 2-over-73 and tied for seventh, just three shots behind. He will be in Rancho Mirage, California next week for another chance at the record.
Langer stated, “It’s disappointing that I shot 73.” Langer stated, “Obviously Ernie had an amazing day, so my Hat’s Off to Him. But, I had a two shot lead at one point in round and would have loved a little more.”
Els won his first win since October 2020. This was the Hall of Famer’s first win. He had been practicing the “saw” putting grip at his Florida home, but wasn’t sure if he wanted to give it a try in a tournament.
In the middle of the tournament, he changed and, after missing a few putts, he returned to a cross-handed grip. He was making enough puts to be a winner again, in any case.
Els stated, “It’s still in progress.”
After he was done, the biggest challenge for him was from Steve StrickerAnd Doug Barron. Stricker, who leads Charles Schwab Cup standings made birdies on 14th and 15th but missed chances coming in. His birdie on 18th for a score of 67 left him one behind.
Barron finished one back, having completed six consecutive pars for a 70.