For the second consecutive week, Bernhard Langer is atop the Schwab Cup Playoff points list, and is the favorite at the Invesco QQQ Championship, which begins Friday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. The Invesco QQQ is the second tournament in a three-event playoff that features the top 54 senior golfers.
Langer is defending champion, and a 4/1 favorite to repeat. Oddsmakers put Miguel Angel Jimenez as the next most likely winner at 10/1, followed by Jerry Kelly at 14/1 and Scott McCarron, Scott Parel, and Tom Gillis at 16/1.
Peaking at the right time, Langer had a subpar regular season by his standards, but has finished first and second in the last two tournaments to regain his No. 1 standing for the playoffs.
“I still want to improve my own game, I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play,” Langer said. “I don’t think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you’re going to see me out here.”
Defying Odds, Beating Time
Langer is an ironman on the Champions Tour. At age 61, he has won 38 events, second only to Hale Irwin’s 45. Most impressively, four of those tournament victories have come after age 60, which is more than any other golfer in history.
Winners on the Champions Tour tend to fall in the 50-55 age range, with results diminishing in the years and decades that follow. Langer has been the exception, winning 20 events at age 56 or older.
“Those are statistics and there are always exceptions and I’m trying to be an exception and still winning and still staying at the very top at age 61 or whatever comes in the future,” Langer said.
About the only accomplishment he hasn’t achieved is shooting his age in a tournament. He came close last week shooting a 62, and almost making fellow tour member McCarron a little lighter in his wallet.
“I have a bet going,” Langer told PGATour.com. “If I shoot my age, he’s going to buy me dinner.”
Jimenez, who has battled his European teammate in past Ryder Cups, wouldn’t bet against Langer.
“He’s very solid player, he almost never misses a shot,” Jimenez said. “He’s very methodic on the golf course and I think he’s the man to beat.”
Struggling to Survive
While Langer and Jimenez have little to worry about for advancing to the round of 36 for the Tour Championship on Nov. 1, other golfers have some work to do to ensure they are playing in two weeks.
Corey Pavin, for example, nearly missed the first cut, finishing 53rd out of 54 players who advance. He shot a 72 in the final round of the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, but was assessed a one-shot penalty for slow play, that knocked him to a tie for 15th. Fortunately the penalty didn’t prevent him from playing this week.
There were some notable names that didn’t make this week’s tournament. Fred Couples, who did not play at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, dropped from 53rd to 57th. Mark O’Meara also will miss the second playoff event after being forced to withdraw with an injury at last week’s tournament.
John Daly had an outside chance to advance, but needed a strong showing at Dominion Energy. He shot a final round 75, and finished tied for 34th, dropping to 66th in the standings.