NAPLES, Fla. — Neither age nor a new putting style has caught up with Bernhard Langer.
And this weekend, neither did his PGA Tour Champions foes.
Langer won the Chubb Classic on Sunday for his 26th Champions Tour title, closing with a 1-over 73 for a three-stroke victory.
Seven strokes ahead after opening with rounds of 62 and 66, the 58-year-old German star finished at 15 under 201 at TwinEagles. He also won in 2011 and 2013, was second in 2012 and tied for second in 2014.
Fred Couples had a 66 to finish second.
Rivals thought they caught a break when Langer had to change to non-anchored putting stroke this year.
The feeling was it would take him awhile to adjust.
It took him just three tournaments.
But Langer had concerns and that showed when he had 15 putters on the practice green this week.
“Whenever you make a drastic change or a change of some sort, you never know,” said Langer, who used a long putter. “I’m 58 now, so if you look at the statistics, a lot of guys don’t win when they’re near 60. But I still think I have some good golf left in me and I’m glad the way I putted this week was probably better than I putted many weeks last year when I was anchored.
“That gives me hope that I can probably pursue with this style and still do very, very well.”
Langer completed his sixth wire-to-wire triumph. He’s second on the 50-and-over tour’s victory list, behind Hale Irwin (45) and Lee Trevino (29).
Using an approach of smart-aggressive, Langer went 1-over through his first 10 holes before getting a birdie on No. 11. He thought he made some solid shots early as he battled a 15-20 mph crosswind.
“I actually played extremely well starting off the first whatever, seven, eight holes, I hit a lot of quality golf shots,” he said.
Couples drew within two shots with a birdie on 17 and Langer’s bogey on 15.
“Well, I played pretty darn well,” Couples said. “I haven’t played in a little while and I hit the ball very, very solid the whole week.
“I needed obviously a better round yesterday, that’s what kind of killed me.”
As he stood over his birdie putt on No. 18, Couples had a pretty good idea he still trailed by two shots.
“I don’t ever think that way, but at that particular time I thought I’m going to give this an extra boost and I wasn’t even close,” he said.
He hit his putt 12 feet past the hole. His par attempt missed.
The tournament was Langer’s.
“That (66 was a) really good score, really, really good score today,” Langer said. “I kept an eye on the leaderboard and I didn’t want anybody to catch me.”