Naples, FL – Bernhard Langer shot even-par 72 on Sunday and wrapped up a wire-to-wire victory at the ACE Group Classic.
Langer finished at 12-under 204, one stroke ahead of Jay Don Blake, who fired a final-round 68 at the Club at TwinEagles' Talon Course.
"(I'm) certainly relieved now having won," admitted Langer. "It was definitely a grind. I was hoping to come down the last hole with, whatever, a 3-shot lead or something, make it easy."
It was the 17th Champions Tour victory for Langer and his second at this tournament. The German won here in 2011 and finished runner-up to Kenny Perry a year ago.
John Cook shot 68 to end tied for third with Tom Pernice Jr. (72) at 9-under, while Rocco Mediate (69) and David Frost (68) tied for fifth at minus-8. Mediate was a winner last week in his Champions Tour debut at the Allianz Championship.
Mark Mouland (68), Jeff Freeman (71) and Mark O'Meara (73) finished at 7- under, one stroke ahead of Perry (69), Bill Glasson (70) and John Huston (73).
Chien Soon Lu, who was tied for second place with Pernice entering the final round, also finished at minus-6 thanks to a final-round 75.
Langer held a 3-shot advantage after 18 and 36 holes, but his up-and-down outward nine on Sunday allowed Blake to make a charge at the top spot.
The overnight leader opened with two birdies in three holes before stumbling to a double bogey on the par-4 fourth. After a birdie on No. 6, Langer erred again with a bogey on the ninth to make the turn at 12-under.
Blake, meanwhile, grounded out four birdies during his bogey-free front nine, and he managed to grab a share of the lead when Langer stumbled to another bogey at the 10th.
Then, a birdie on the 13th had Blake alone on top, but the edge was fleeting, as Langer followed with a birdie of his own at that hole, then turned the trick again at No. 14 to go in front for good.
Langer bogeyed No. 15, but Blake dropped a shot on the 16th, and last year's money-leader closed with a trio of pars to seal the victory.
"(I) played very solid coming in, had a good birdie chance on 17, played a really difficult shot from hardpan, you know, where all the carts and the people go to the right there, played a really good third shot to about six feet and missed a putt again," continued Langer. "And then 18, hit two decent shots, really good drive, good 5-iron, middle of the green and a great first putt to about a foot and a half and that's really it."
NOTES: The ACE Group Classic is the third Champions Tour event that Langer has won multiple times ... Mark Calcavecchia withdrew on Sunday due to a bad back after he quadruple-bogeyed No. 17 ... Andy Bean withdrew on Friday ... This year's tournament marked the 26th anniversary of a Champions Tour event in Naples. On the current schedule, only the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, Texas, has been played longer in the same city (28 years).