SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – Bernhard Langer might want to start campaigning for more Champions Tour events in the Pacific Northwest.
Langer pulled off a Seattle sweep with a final-round 69 as he pulled away from Nick Price down the stretch to win the Boeing Classic on Sunday.
Langer finished at 18-under 198 to earn his fifth Champions Tour victory this season, and the second in the greater Seattle area this year after winning the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., a month ago.
In his last three events in Washington state, he’s won twice and finished tied for third at the Boeing Classic last year. His score under par matched Loren Roberts’ tournament record from last year.
“I think right now I’m playing almost as good as I’ve ever played,” Langer said. “I think my golf swing improved. The technique is better. My caddy said he hadn’t seen me drive the ball as well as the last few weeks ever.”
Leading by two shots after a bogey at No. 11, Langer made consecutive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 to stretch his lead to four strokes with just two to play at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge.
“My lead was only two at that point with seven holes to go, so we still had a lot of golf left,” Langer said. “My caddy came over and gave me a pep talk and said ‘let’s play 2-under here the last five holes,’ and I was able to go 3-under on the last few and increase my lead and have a (three-shot) lead coming into 18, which is a nice lead to have.”
Price (71) wasn’t able to find enough birdies on Sunday to keep up with the Charles Schwab Cup leader.
“In retrospect, I’m really happy with the way I played this week cause I played so poorly last week,” Price said. “He’s tough. I needed my ‘A’ game to beat him today and I didn’t have it.”
Langer gave Price opportunities early as Langer missed the first three fairways of the day. Langer drove his tee shot into a bunker on the uphill 439-yard third hole, opening the door for Price to apply some pressure trailing by just a stroke. But Price’s drive found the same bunker as Langer.
Langer was able to clear the lip easily and put his second shot just through the green while Price was forced to layup. Price couldn’t save par and made bogey.
Price found the sand again off the tee on the fourth hole and his second shot caught the lip upon contact and landed in a greenside bunker. Price couldn’t get up and down and made bogey, leaving a 6-footer short to save par.
“It was strange today actually because it was probably the best I drove the ball all week because I’d been struggling a little bit with my driver,” Price said.
“I missed my lines by probably 10, 12 yards on both of those holes and I paid the penalty.”
After a big drive at the fifth, Price chunked a wedge and barely trickled on to the front edge of the green and three-putted from 50-feet for his third straight bogey.
But Langer allowed Price to hang around. A massive drive at the downhill 484-yard, par-4 11th left Langer just 86 yards out, but his second shot flew close to 20 feet past the hole and he three-putted for bogey. Price birdied the eighth and 11th to pull within two of the lead but couldn’t get any closer to the methodical Langer.
“My hat’s off to Bernhard,” Price said. “He played super solid today. He’s a tough, tough competitor.”
Hometown favorite Fred Couples closed with a 67 to finish in third at 9 under. He struggled down the stretch on Saturday, shooting 4-over par on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to fall out of contention. The Seattle native received a huge ovation after making birdie at No. 18 to close out his weekend.
“I don’t come back to Seattle much at all, but to come back and play (here) two weeks has been truly remarkable,” Couples said.
Mike Reid and Hal Sutton finished tied for fourth at 8-under par.