10 of the best: German efficiency in full swing at Portmarnock

Mark McGowan

Bernhard Langer (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

With the Horizon Irish Open set to get underway in a few day’s time at the K Club, we’re counting down our top-10 from years gone by…..

7. German efficiency in full swing at Portmarnock – 1987

There have been some truly great performances at Irish Opens down through the years. Jon Rahm’s first win, which came at Portstewart in 2017 where he won by six is one, Colin Montgomerie’s seven-stroke win at Druids Glen in 1997 is another, but there’s one that stands above them all.


There’s arguably never been a better performance on the European Tour than that of Bernhard Langer at Portmarnock in 1987.

Nine years previous, as a 20-year-old rookie in 1978, Langer held a two-stroke lead with nine holes to go and, eyeing his maiden European Tour win, and speaking to Irish Golfer in 2020, he said:  “I started thinking about what I was going to say at the prize giving ceremony when I accept the trophy, and what am I going to do with all the money I am going to make. I was thinking all the things you shouldn’t think about. Needless to say, I did not win the tournament, I did not have to give a speech and I did not make the money I expected to win. Those were lessons learned and you must never get ahead of yourself.”

Two years after losing a heartbreaking playoff to Seve Ballesteros at Royal Dublin, and three years after capturing his first Irish Open at the same Bull Island venue, Langer returned to Irish shores in 1987 and, this time, back at the famed Portmarnock Golf Club, the German put on a clinic for four days straight with rounds of 67, 68, 66 and 68 to secure a 10-stroke victory over Sandy Lyle.

Still producing the goods almost four decades later, it’s little surprise that the German machine would go on to win a third Irish Open at Mount Juliet in 1994, but his barnstorming win at Portmarnock was easily the most impressive of the three and, in the absence of final round drama, the 15,000 daily spectators were treated to an exhibition the likes of which few outside of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have ever been able to produce.

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