Tom Watson plays final round at Senior Open as Bernhard Langer triumphs

Tom Watson at the 18th hole
Watson, who won the Open five times , will celebrate his 70th birthday in five weeks' time

Eight-time major winner Tom Watson retired from competitive links golf aged 69 as Bernhard Langer won a record fourth Senior Open.

The American was given a rousing send-off after saying that he would retire on Sunday at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

He was set for a swansong level-par round before bogeying the final three holes for a 73 to finish on nine over, 15 shots behind German Langer, 61.

"The crowds were very warm and appreciative," said Watson.

"There will be other people who will take the reins and they will do what I did. Life is full of passages, and I've passed through my career here, starting in 1975 to here in 2019. It's amazing."

Bernhard Langer
Langer secured his 41st professional title since turning 50

Watson enjoyed five Open championship victories between 1975 and 1983, putting him just one shy of Harry Vardon's all-time record.

He famously came close to winning The Open again in 2009, aged 59, but missed an eight-foot putt for victory on the 18th at Turnberry before losing the subsequent play-off to Stewart Cink.

His other major victories came at the Masters (1977 and 1981) and US Open (1982).

Watson never missed a cut in the Senior Open and remains one of only three men - along with Gary Player and Bob Charles - to win both that tournament and the Open itself.

Despite heavy rainfall, which suspended play for over five and a half hours on the final day, two-time Masters champion Langer carded a four under par 66 to turn a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory from England's 2016 champion Paul Broadhurst.

"It's always special to walk down 18 in a major, but especially over here," he said. "The people are so knowledgeable about golf, and it's tremendous how they even came out in these conditions and cheered us on in the rain.

"It feels very special, whether it's the Open or the Senior Open. Now having won 11 senior majors, it means a great deal. Nobody has won more than nine if I'm correct, not even the great Jack Nicklaus or Gary Player or Tom Watson who retired from this championship today. "

Freddie Couples and Tom Watson
Freddie Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, shares a joke with old friend Watson
Tom Watson
Watson salutes the crowd as he holes his final putt on the 18th green

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