Cejka beats Harrington in play-off to win Senior Open

Jul 30, 2023 | Featured, South Africans abroad

From Legends Tour

Alex Cejka defeated Padraig Harrington in a play-off to win the Senior Open presented by Rolex as he landed his third senior major championship on a dramatic day of punishing conditions at Royal Porthcawl.

The German got the job done at the second extra hole, making a two-putt birdie at the par-five 18th as Harrington could only manage a par after a fluffed chip shot.

Harrington, who has now finished runner-up in both his Senior Open appearances, had missed an eagle putt to win on the 72nd hole, before both players made birdies on the first play-off hole.

Extra holes were required after the pair finished the tournament on five-over-par, with nobody able to break par for the second day running as the field faced howling winds and rain in Wales.

It is the highest winning score at Europe’s only senior major championship since Bob Charles finished on seven over at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1993.

Cejka emulates four-time champion Bernhard Langer as just the second German to win the Senior Open as he adds the trophy to his wins at the Regions Tradition and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2021.

“I can’t believe I’m standing with the trophy here,” Cejka said. “Seeing all those great names on the trophy, coming in here with all the pictures and everything, all the guys who won it before me, now holding it myself, it’s surreal.”

Harrington was bidding to become just the fifth player after Charles, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Darren Clarke to win both The Open and Senior Open.

The best finish by a South African came from Keith Horne, who closed with a seven-over-par 78 to finish in a share of 25th on 14-over. James Kingston was a shot back on 15-over with his closing three-over 74, while Doug McGuigan had a nine-over 80 to be in 41st on 16-over. Chris Williams, Mark McNulty and Adilson Da Silva missed the cut.

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