With Senior Players coming up next month, Billy Andrade prepares to stop Bernhard Langer's roll

Billy Andrade has at least one advantage over most of his fellow pros on the PGA Tour Champions when it comes to stopping the recent dominance of Bernhard Langer.

Andrade has beaten Langer in both of his individual victories on the Champions Tour, which will come to Caves Valley Golf Club for the Constellation Senior Players Championship on July 11-16.


After teaming with Joe Durant at the 2015 Legends of Golf for his first Champions Tour win, Andrade held off Langer by a shot later that year in the Boeing Classic, then defeated Langer in a one-hole sudden-death playoff in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Asked Tuesday what the secret has been in beating Langer, Andrade said, "I think you've got to get a little lucky and the first one I got very lucky in the final round."


Andrade made a triple-bogey 7 on the fifth hole in the final round at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge outside in Seattle to overcome both the elements and Langer.

"It was a survival test," Andrade, now 53, recalled during a Media Day visit to Caves Valley. "The weather was iffy. It was windy. Low scoring was tough. We all were just trying to get it in, and I was fortunate to beat him there."

Andrade called the experience of beating Langer in a playoff for the Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain's Cochise Course in Scottsdale, Ariz., "really cool" since the then-58-year-old German won the yearlong title and a $1 million annuity while Andrade had his biggest payday on the Champions Tour, earning $440,000.

"To beat him in a playoff there was something I'll never forget," said Andrade, who needed to shoot a closing round of 6-under-par 64, watched Langer lip out an eagle putt right and then make a 10-footer for birdie himself just to force the playoff.

Andrade has not won since, in part because of the Langer's dominance.

Langer, now 59, has won seven times the past two years, including three times in nine events this season. Langer has won his past two tournaments, back-to-back major victories at The Tradition and PGA Senior Championship, where Andrade finished a season-best third.

Not that Andrade nor anyone else should have much hope in this year's PGA Senior Players Championship, which Langer has won a Champions Tour record three straight years despite the fact that it was played at three courses.

After the final round last year, Andrade recalled a group of players driving from the Philadelphia Cricket Club to Baltimore to tee it up the next day at Caves Valley.

The group included Langer, who is a member at Caves Valley.

"You talk about being excited about coming to a place," Andrade told those who had assembled for Media Day. "We all drove here from Philly. It wasn't hard to get players to come here on a day off because we had an opportunity to play a place this beautiful."

Andrade is hoping his recent play in the PGA Senior Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., will be the start of some better results. He has had only one other top 10 finish — a tie for fourth in Tucson in March — this year.

"We have a Senior U.S. Open before here, in Boston, close to where I grew up [in Rhode Island]. I'm really looking forward to Salem [Country Club for the Open] and really looking forward to coming here," Andrade said. "Confidence always comes when you play well in majors, especially like the Trump course. It was hard, and I handled it OK. It could have been a few shots better and have a chance. You have to tip your cap to Bernhard — he played unbelievable."


Andrade was long known as a solid, if a bit streaky, player during a PGA Tour career that began in 1987. Two of his four career victories came in back-to-back tournaments, at the Kemper Open and Buick Classic in 1991. He earned more than $12.4 million on the PGA Tour, and an additional $3.8 million on the Champions Tour.

As he was making the transition between tours, Andrade became on-course analyst for The Golf Channel at PGA Tour events for which he was not eligible. Though his glib personality would have allowed Andrade to develop his talents as a commentator, he knew he was strictly biding his time until he turned 50.

"I enjoyed it," he said. "I learned a new craft, something I really didn't want to pursue. I wanted to come out here and play Champions Tour golf. It's something I can go back and do if I wanted to go back. I never had a boss in my whole life. I did everything on my own. All of a sudden you're working for other people and it's a little different. I like being my own boss. It's a lot easier."

NOTES: Constellation Energy will contribute $500,000 in grants to Baltimore-area charities, it was announced Tuesday. The grants will go to eight organizations: Family Tree; The First Tee of Greater Baltimore; Junior Achievement of Central Maryland; Kennedy Krieger Institute; Living Classrooms Foundation; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore; Special Olympics of Maryland; and the UMES, which runs the only PGA management degree program at a historically black university.


Recommended on Baltimore Sun