At the second play-off hole of the Senior Open Championship on yet another day of excruciatingly challenging conditions at Royal Porthcawl, Alex Cejka defeated Padraig Harrington to win.
After Harrington could only manage par, Germany’s Cejka won his third senior major with a birdie on the par-five 18th hole. Before the first playoff hole was halved in four on the 72nd hole, Harrington had missed an eagle putt to win.
Cejka said, “I can’t believe I’m here holding the trophy. It’s strange seeing all those wonderful names on the trophy and walking in here with all the images and everything.”
No one in the field had a round below par for the second day in a row, and no player had ever gone under par during a Senior Open round before this week, which occurred at Royal Aberdeen in 2005.
Amid nearly constant rain and blustery gusts on the south Wales coast, Cejka’s round of 76 and Harrington’s 75 caused them to finish together at five over par. On the second playoff hole, Harrington’s errant chip gave Cejka the chance to win with a two-putt birdie. Cejka, 52, wins the Senior Open, adding to his 2021 Tradition and Senior PGA Championship titles as the other two senior major winners.
Harrington has placed second in each of his Senior Open outings after his play-off loss, his second in a senior major this year. Vijay Singh and Harrington had both begun the day at even par, one stroke behind Cejka’s third-round lead. The Fijian shot a 77 and finished third after birdieing the last.
Steven Alker of New Zealand, who had begun at one over as well, lost ground after shooting 81 in the final round, and Phillip Archer, who shot 77 to tie for fifth place with Phil Price of Wales on nine over.
Price got a birdie on hole 18 to end with a valiant 76, and fellow countryman Bradley Dredge tied for 20th after shooting an 80 in the final round. The 2009 US PGA winner, YE Yang, moved up 44 spots to tie for 11th after shooting a level par round of 71, which was also the day’s best score.
Colin Montgomerie of Scotland had a terrible Sunday since his round of 88 put him 22 over for the competition.