Alex Cejka won the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl in Wales on a day with gusty and wet conditions.
Cejka, a German, and Padraig Harrington, an Irishman, fought throughout the day, and it took two extra holes to determine the winner.
But the Germans made the fewest errors, particularly on the second playoff hole.
Harrington and Cejka blasted their drives down the left side of the fairway with the breeze at their backs on the par-5 18th, which served as the playoff hole on both occasions.
Harrington started the round by hitting a 7-iron over the green. His ball landed in a cloudy deception. Meanwhile, Cejka landed his shot on the green. He then two-putted for a birdie.
Harrington made a valiant effort, but fatigue struck at the wrong time. A cerebral blunder on his third shot from beyond the green ultimately cost him the Senior Open for the second consecutive year.
The Dubliner made a valiant effort, carding a 4-over 75 in the final round.
Harrington required a birdie at the 72nd hole in order to tie Cejka and necessitate a playoff.
The Irishman’s second shot on the par-5 18th hole was the shot of the day because it gave him an opportunity for an eagle. Had that putt fallen, Harrington would have been victorious. On the 72nd hole, he compromised for a birdie, but his approach shot was extraordinary.
Cejka staggered to the finish line after carding two bogeys on his final three holes and finishing with a 5-over 76.
At Royal Porthcawl, nobody concluded with an under-par round for the second consecutive day. Miguel Angel Jimenez’s 2-over-par 73 represented the highest round of the day.
At the 72nd green, Cejka held a one-stroke advantage over Harrington. His tee shot into the thick rough to the left of the fairway was, to say the least, reprehensible. The 53-year-old was unable to even hit the fairway with his second stroke. Despite this incident, he still managed a par and went on to defeat Harrington in the playoff.
The three-time winner of the senior major is no novice to the spotlight. In 2009, he led the Players after 54 holes but lost to Henrik Stenson after shooting a 7-over 79 on the final day.
Cejka finished tied for ninth at the U.S. Senior Open and tied for twelfth at the Senior PGA Championship. In his rookie campaign in 2021, he won two additional senior championships. In that year, Cejka won the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship.
The German’s performance on Sunday, however, was by far his most impressive, as he held off one of the greatest links golfers, Padraig Harrington, in the most brutal conditions.