Chapman wins US Senior Open to join trio of stars

Posted July 15, 2012, at 7:10 p.m.
Last modified July 15, 2012, at 10:54 p.m.

LAKE ORION, Mich. — Roger Chapman earned the right to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.

Not bad for a self-described former European Tour journeyman.

The Englishman shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday to win the U.S. Senior Open by two strokes at 10 under at Indianwood. He won the Senior PGA Championship by the same margin two months ago on the other side of Michigan.

Chapman, Nicklaus, Player and Irwin are the only players to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship in the same year.

“It’s a true honor,” Chapman said.

Before this year, his career highlight was a European Tour win in Brazil in 2000.

Bernhard Langer (72), Fred Funk (67), Tom Lehman (68) and Corey Pavin (68) finished tied for second at 8-under 272 at the Champions Tour’s fourth of five majors. Pavin’s two-stroke penalty after his first round for hitting a ball that moved a fraction of an inch proved to be costly.

Entering the final round, it seemed as if the only lingering question was how easily Langer would win.

Langer, though, found out what the first- and second-round leaders — Tom Kite and Lance Ten Broeck — did the previous two days: It’s not easy to stay consistent at Indianwood.

Langer took a four-shot lead into the final round and closed with a shaky performance that spoiled his shot at winning his second U.S. Senior Open.

The wind picked up considerably Sunday — with gusts up to 20 mph — and made it even tougher to keep tee shots on the unforgiving and tight fairways and to accurately approach hard, undulating greens.

Chapman answered the challenge for much of the day with two birdies on the front nine and four through 14 holes. He chunked a shot out of the bunker at 16, leading to a bogey that he made up for on the next hole.

The 53-year-old Chapman stepped to the potentially pivotal 195-yard, par-3 17th and calmly hit a 5-iron shot that was close enough for a tap-in birdie that restored a two-shot lead.

“I have to say that was my best shot ever played,” he said.

Chapman chose to use his driver at the 462-yard, par-4 18th and got a break when his tee shot was stopped by fans standing along the left ropes. That gave him with a decent lie in the rough that he took advantage of with an approach that set him up for a two-putt par that sealed the victory and proved what he did in May at Harbor Shores was no fluke.

Chapman receives $500,000 for winning the U.S. Senior Open after getting a check for $378,000 for the Senior PGA victory.

SCOTTISH OPEN: Jeev Milkha Singh beat Francesco Molinari in a playoff Sunday to win the Scottish Open at Inverness, Scotland, and secure a late berth in next week’s British Open.

A final-round meltdown by local hope Marc Warren left Singh and Molinari tied at 17-under 271. The 40-year-old Indian won by draining a 15-foot birdie on No. 18.

Singh shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to tie for the lowest round of the day.

JOHN DEERE CLASSIC: Zach Johnson won the John Deere Classic on the second playoff hole Sunday, hitting his second shot to a foot for a birdie to beat Troy Matteson in Silvis, Ill.

After Johnson and Matteson double-bogeyed the 18th on their first playoff hole, Johnson hit a 193-yard second shot from a bunker to 12 inches from the cup, again on the 18th. Matteson needed to sink a 43-footer to match Johnson’s birdie, but didn’t get the putt to the hole.

It was Johnson’s second win of the season and ninth of his career.

Johnson birdied three of the last six holes in regulation, taking the lead until Matteson sank a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th. Johnson shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 to finish at 20-under 264. Matteson shot a 69.

Scott Piercy finished third, two strokes back after a 65.

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