Langer Wins Inches Closer to Ryder Cup


Bernhard Langer made par on the first hole of a sudden death playoff Sunday to beat Warren Bennett and win the TNT Dutch Open.
Beginning the day one stroke behind his playing partner, Langer caught fire on the back nine of the Noordwijkse Golf Course, scorching his last eight holes of regulation in 5-under-par to end with a 66 and minus-15 score.
Free Video - Registration Required Langer on his playoff win.
Bennett shot an equally-fine 67 to finish on the mark, but came undone on the first extra hole, the 18th, when after Langer had made his par-four, Bennett missed a three-foot putt to equal the score.
I am proud of myself, apart from the disappointment of finishing with three putts, but he (Langer) was great to play with, claimed the runner-up.
While the results may have been heartbreaking for Bennett, who has been sidelined for some time with a bad neck, the victory comes as Langers third at this particular venue and his 38th overall on the European Tour, his last coming four years ago.
The win also moved the German veteran up to seventh place on the Ryder Cup points standings and has given him a very realistic shot to compete against America for the tenth time in his career.
Sam (Torrance) was on the phone to congratulate me, Langer exclaimed after the round.
For a while, no one might have guessed what would play out over the final run at Noordwijkse.
Through the first 10 holes of the day, it appeared as if it would be all Bennett, as the smooth-swinging Englishman had moved two strokes ahead at minus-13.
However, Langer quickly eagled the par-5 11th and then made birdie at the par-4 13th to narrow the gap, when his approach shot hit the pin and dropped just two feet from the cup.
He gave the shot back with a wayward drive at No. 14, but again bounced back with birdies from the 15th through the 17th holes.
Bennett also played well all day, with an eagle of his own at No. 11. Yet, he couldnt match Langers birdie barrage over the closing stretch.
On the first extra hole, with Langer in safely with a par, Bennett took a bold run at his birdie attempt, but ran the putt some three feet by the hole.
When he missed the comeback, it was all over.
I am pleased for Bernhard, said Bennett. He played like the champion he has been over the last 20 years or so.
Commented Langer: Its been a great few weeks obviously. I played well to finish eighth at The K-Club and I was in the last pairing at the Open and now here.
Its nice to be back in contention and to be in the Ryder Cup side at the moment ' and hopefully for good!
The 43-year-old will get his next shot to secure his position at the U.S. PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in several weeks.
Full-field scores from the TNT Dutch Open