JOHN Harrison paid tribute to Bernhard Langer over the way the 1985 and 1993 US Masters champion captured his first senior major, The Open Senior Championship.
Langer collected a £202,400 winner’s cheque from a classic display of controlled and patient golf on a fiercely demanding course at Carnoustie.
Harrison, who practised alongside Langer after the first round, said: “I thought Bernhard was in better shape than he was when he was on the main tour. He has filled out a bit as he has got older and looks stronger to me.
“It was very impressive seeing him hit the ball close up on the practice ground. Every shot just kept going in the same direction.”
Harrison, Matfen Hall’s director of golf and a former European Tour pro, banked £7,300 after a five-way tie for 41st place.
He finished the tournament on 11 over for his championship debut with a total of 295, taking 16 shots more than winner Langer.
“I know what I’ve got to do in terms of tightening up my swing,” said Harrison, “But I don’t have time to work on it properly between tournaments because of my work at Matfen. So that will mainly have to wait until the winter.”
Harrison’s usual swashbuckling approach paid off when he won the Senior Tour qualifying tournament by three shots in Portugal last winter with four sub-70 rounds.
But this was Carnoustie, and he added: “Bernhard plotted his way carefully round the course, keeping out of as many bunkers as possible and never being afraid to drop down to a three-wood off the tee to fall short of them. I kept telling myself to play more conservatively, although it is against my nature.
“For example, when I go for a green I have my right eye on the safe option, the middle of the green, and my left eye on where the flag is in the corner!
“Another thing about Bernhard was that his short game is so good, he only had to get round about the green to make his score and not be too bothered if he did not hit the green.”