DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour player of the year, said he's never had a better start to a season.
Langer relied on his short game to bail him out of trouble early and he added to his impressive start to the season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes Sunday.
He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events. He also won the Ace Group Classic in Naples, Fla., and was the tour's points leader even before his successful three days at TPC Sugarloaf.
"I've had very good starts before but this is exceptional so far," Langer said. "I don't think I've ever had anything like this."
Langer, who finished 10-under 206 for the tournament, took control with a 40-foot chip-in for birdie on No. 10.
Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr. Pernice made a move with an eagle on No. 15 and added a birdie on 18 for a 70.
Langer opened with a 1-over 73 on Friday before recovering with a 66 on Saturday.
"It's just gratifying to see all the hard work pay off because sometimes you work hard and it doesn't pay off," Langer said. "Lately it's been the more practice the better I get."
Esteban Toledo, the second-round leader who played in the final group with Langer and Roger Chapman, fell out of contention with double bogeys on 11 and 12 on his way to a 75.
Lehman's last birdie left him one stroke behind Langer, but the German answered quickly with a birdie on No. 16 to add cushion to his lead. He lifted his hands to the fans after the birdie putt as if signaling his victory was secure.
Langer, 55, closed with a birdie on 18 — but only after he escaped trouble on the fairway rough — and then raised his visor to the fans.
Lehman, watching Langer's finish on TV from the media workroom, said "That adds insult to injury" when Langer's third shot on 18 landed only three feet from the hole.