Bernhard Langer and son, Jason, fired a second consecutive round of 60 (-12) before clinching victory with a dramatic eagle on the first hole of sudden death, the par-5 18th, over Team Goosen and Team Lehman at the 2019 PNC Father Son Challenge at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes.
Only two partnerships in the last 14 years have prevailed when trailing overnight, but that did not stop Team Langer, who came from two strokes behind to lift the coveted Will Park Trophy with a spectacular eagle back at No. 18.
Langer is now solo second in the all-time list of tournament winners behind Raymond Floyd (5).
On a low scoring morning in Orlando, it was Team Daly that made an early run up the leaderboard, going seven under through seven holes, before the lead switched hands between the overnight leaders Team Goosen, Team Langer and Team Lehman.
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A three-time winner here at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, including once with Jason in 2014, Langer matched Lehman’s opening nine of 29 to lead by one at the turn, with Team Goosen a further one adrift.
Trading blows throughout the back nine, Team Lehman birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to post the clubhouse lead at 24-under-par, only for Team Goosen and Team Langer to join them with closing birdies of their own.
Cue the fifth playoff in tournament history and first since 2015.
With all six players heading back down the par 5 18th hole, the crowds knew it would take something special to break the deadlock.
Jason Langer stepped up.
Taking his father’s drive in the fairway, 19-year-old Jason hit a 270 yard 3-wood to 16ft before calmly rolling in the putt to break the deadlock at the first time of asking.
Commenting on the victory, Bernhard said, “I’ve seen clutch shots in majors and Ryder Cups, all over the place. For our family it doesn’t get much better than that one.”
“He hit an unbelievable 3-wood in regulation and it came just a couple yards short, then hit an even better one in the playoff. 270 into the wind and he flew it all the way there. Something I do not know how to do, I don’t have that in me, so it was fun for me to watch. The noise the ball made when he struck it was spectacular.”
Known to rotate his partners between his family, when asked about who he would bring back next year Bernhard replied, “If somebody wins, they get the chance to defend, but we will have a whole year to discuss.”
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Leading overnight and always gracious in defeat, Retief said, “Almost in this game, unfortunately, doesn’t count. We’ve finished second in this event three times now in the last four years. It’s a little disappointing to me. Playoffs have not been kind to me this year. I feel bad for my son, because we were unfortunately on the losing end.”
Also narrowly missing out in the playoff, Team Lehman shot the low round of the day on Sunday (59, -13) but certainly took the positives with how the gelled during the weekend.
“He played so well, he carried the team the first 14 holes then the old man came alive at the finish. He put me on his shoulders and carried us.”
Annika Sorenstam, who became the first female professional participant this week, rounded off her tournament with a second round 71 to tie Team Pate.
“It’s been a wonderful week overall, with a wonderful ‘Thank you’ to PNC for hosting us and having us here. Thanks to all fans who came out and families, for supporting us. The whole week was just awesome.”