SOUTHPORT, England — Bernhard Langer gave Mark Wiebe one too many chances at the Senior British Open.
Wiebe took advantage of Langer’s failure to close out the tournament, beating the German on the fifth playoff hole Monday at Royal Birkdale for his first major title on the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
The American used a superb approach shot from the rough to set up a two-putt for par, while Langer failed to get up and down, seeing his par putt stay out on the deciding hole.
“I’m speechless,” Wiebe said. “I think it’s always better for both players had there been a birdie to win the playoff instead of a bogey, but right now, I don’t really care.
“I’m glad it’s over, and I’m honored.”
Langer led by two shots going into the final hole of regulation Sunday, only to settle for a double bogey when he struggled to get out of a bunker. The playoff was halted after two holes because of darkness and resumed Monday, with Langer immediately missing another chance to win when his 12-foot putt wouldn’t drop.
“I just was luckier today and last night than Bernie, I guess,” said the 55-year-old Wiebe, who earned $315,600 for the victory. “I also feel like Bernie has won, what, a couple hundred tournaments? He’s won so many, I feel like this was my turn.”
Langer, who won the Senior British Open in 2010, was up by three shots entering the final round this year.
Wiebe closed with a 4-under-par 66 to match Langer (70) at 9-under 271 through 72 holes of regulation. Seattle native Fred Couples, the defending champion, tied for 21st place at 5 over.
Langer said, “Obviously, not what I wanted. But the major mistake was again yesterday, the 72nd hole. In the playoff, anybody can win. It comes down to one good shot or one bad shot. And that’s what happened..”
Wiebe was hampered by back and arm problems earlier this year. But he said he can swing a club without pain again.
“Once I realized I could play and it didn’t hurt very much to swing,” Wiebe said, “I was instantly in a great mood and I knew I was playing good.”