EDMOND — Colin Montgomerie raised his arms into the air, his putter still in hand.
Soon after, he had the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy in hand.
With a 16-foot putt on the third playoff hole Sunday, Montgomerie bested Gene Sauers and won the U.S. Senior Open. It was a dramatic end to a sensational week at Oak Tree National, which was hosting its first major event since 2006.
For Montgomerie, it was his second major championship in as many tries on the Champions Tour. In his lengthy career on the PGA Tour, he never won a major.
“This is a great, great golf course,” Montgomerie said. “Very, very difficult, and if anybody thinks these senior majors are easy to win, believe me, come out here and try it … because it’s a great standard of golf.”
Montgomerie needed extra holes to win for the first time in an event staged by the United States Golf Association, the group that hosts U.S. Opens on both the PGA and Champions tours. He fell just short of winning the U.S. Open three times with runner-up finishes in 1994, 1997 and 2006.
And he nearly finished second Sunday. Sauers, who had a three-shot lead after Saturday’s third round, had a birdie putt on the 18th hole that would’ve won the championship.
It hit the lip and curled out.
Sauers and Montgomerie, who were both 5-under after 72 holes, went to a three-hole playoff. Starting at No. 16, both bogeyed the hole, but on No. 17, Sauers bogeyed again after putting his tee shot on the par-3 into the bunker. Montgomerie made par and took a one-shot lead in the playoff.
Both players missed the green with their approaches on No. 18. Montgomerie’s chip from the thick rough came up well short, and when Sauers stuck his within a couple feet, it looked as if Sauers might get that shot back and the playoff might continue.
But Montgomerie sank the putt to win the title.
Sauers, who hadn’t won a tournament since 2002, was disappointed in falling short of his first major title. But after overcoming a skin condition that nearly killed him in 2011, he found more positives than negatives.
“I’m proud of the way I played,” he said. “Yes, I would like to take home that trophy.
“One day, I will.”
Even though Montgomerie walked away with the trophy, Oak Tree National was a winner this week, too. USGA officials praised everything from the groundskeepers to the owners to the spectators during the awards presentation on the 18th green.
The only gripe anyone had this week: the heat.
Sunday was the hottest day, with the temperature reaching 99 degrees and the heat index going well into the triple digits.
“Why we don’t play this tournament in Alaska, I don’t know,” Montgomerie said during his speech during the awards presentation.
The Scotsman, who was complimentary of the course and the community every chance he had, made it clear later that he was just joking about moving farther north.
“Forget Alaska,” he said.
“In Edmond, Oklahoma, you should be very proud of having something so good, so local. A world-renowned golf course. I’m taking this course back home to tell everyone in Britain how good this place is.”
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.