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.
“It’s a true honor,” Chapman said.
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.
The German said Saturday that if he closed with a 2- or 3-under round, it would be difficult for anyone to catch him. When Langer gave up two shots at No. 2, he gave the field a chance to pass him.
Langer pushed his second tee shot to the right under a line of trees on the 396-yard, par-4 second hole. After walking more than 100 yards to examine the path of his approach shot, he hit a low shot that landed against the lip of a greenside bunker. Langer tried to play what he called a “special shot,” and ended up sailing it over the green to set up a double bogey.
“I knew there was a lot of golf left and I was still in the lead,” Langer said. “If I shoot under par from that point on, I’ll still be in good shape, but I couldn’t make a putt.”
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.
Chapman, 53, stepped to the potentially pivotal 195-yard, par-3 17th and 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 left 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.
“I wanted to prove to myself and to other people that Benton Harbor wasn’t a one-off event,” he said.
He had a stunning wire-to-wire win at the Senior PGA Championship, beating John Cook by two strokes after closing with two bogeys without his wife, Cathy, there to watch because she had to work.
Chapman’s wife was with him at Indianwood and gave him a huge hug as he walked off the 18th green and tears started streaming down his cheeks.
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