LAKE ORION, Mich. — Roger Chapman earned the right to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.
Not bad for a self-described former European Tour journeyman.
The Englishman shot a 4-under 66 Sunday to win the U.S. Senior Open by two strokes at 10 under at Indianwood. He won the Senior PGA Championship by the same margin two months ago on the other side of Michigan.
Chapman, Nicklaus, Player and Irwin are the only players to win the U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship in the same year.
“It’s a true honor,” Chapman said.
Before this year, his career highlight was a European Tour win in Brazil in 2000.
Bernhard Langer (72), Fred Funk (67), Tom Lehman (68) and Corey Pavin (68) finished tied for second at 8-under 272 at the Champions Tour’s fourth of five majors. Pavin’s two-stroke penalty after his first round for hitting a ball that moved a fraction of an inch proved to be costly.
Entering the final round, it seemed as if the only lingering question was how easily Langer would win.
Langer, though, found out what the first- and second-round leaders — Tom Kite and Lance Ten Broeck — did the previous two days: It’s not easy to stay consistent at Indianwood.
Langer took a four-shot lead into the final round and closed with a shaky performance that spoiled his shot at winning his second U.S. Senior Open.
The German said Saturday if he closed with a 2- or 3-under round, it would be difficult for anyone to catch him. When Langer gave up two shots at No. 2, he gave the field a chance to pass him.
“I knew there was a lot of golf left and I was still in the lead,” he said. “If I shoot under par from that point on, I’ll still be in good shape, but I couldn’t make a putt.”
The wind picked up considerably Sunday — with gusts up to 20 mph — and made it even tougher to keep tee shots on the unforgiving and tight fairways and to accurately approach hard, undulating greens.
Chapman answered the challenge for much of the day with two birdies on the front nine and four through 14 holes. He chunked a shot out of the bunker at 16, leading to a bogey that he made up for on the next hole.
The 53-year-old Chapman stepped to the potentially pivotal 195-yard, par-3 17th and calmly hit a 5-iron that was close enough for a tap-in birdie that restored a two-shot lead.
“I have to say that was my best shot ever played,” he said.
Until Chapman’s breakout this year, his shining moment was beating Padraig Harrington in a playoff for his first European Tour win in his 472nd start on that tour.
He had a conditional exemption on the Champions Tour in 2010 and lost his status last year, finishing 84th on the money list after failing to crack the top 10 in any of his 11 starts.
Chapman receives $500,000 for winning the U.S. Senior Open after getting a check for $378,000 for the Senior PGA victory.
“I guess when you read about him, you always hear journeyman or something like that,” Pavin said. “But he’s always been a very solid player.
“Sometimes, people bloom a little later.”