Strong finish sees Langer leading by three
PITTSBURGH — Bernhard Langer spent 45 anxious minutes Friday night wondering if the driver he has used the last two years would be healthy enough to make it to work Saturday.
Fortunately, a Champions Tour club technician was able to find a replacement screw for the one that busted inside the clubhead at the end of Langer’s second round at the Senior Players Championship. The “gamer” back in his ever steady hands, Langer moved closer to his third major title on the 50-and- over circuit, overcoming a slow start to shoot a 4-under 66 in the third round and stay in front of hard-charging Kenny Perry at Fox Chapel.
“There’s always slight doubts,” Langer said. “You’re putting something together. They say it’s the same, but you’re never sure it’s the same... I was convinced it was very close to the same. You don’t want it to get into your head.”
It hardly looked like Langer was bothered while moving to 15-under 195 through 54 holes at an event where he has five top-10 finishes but no victories. The two-time Masters champ hit 10 of 14 fairways and shot a 4-under 31 on the back nine to regain control after briefly losing the lead to Perry.
Perry, trying to join Arnold Palmer as the only player to win the Senior Players in consecutive years, was three behind after a 65 he allowed could have been even better. Still, the deficit is hardly daunting for Perry, who trailed Fred Couples by two heading into the final round last June only to emerge with the first major of his professional career.
“Hopefully, the results will be the same,” Perry said, laughing.
Russ Cochran, Joe Durant and Bill Glasson were four back. Cochran had a 63, the low round of the day. Durant shot 67, and Glasson had a 68.
Jeff Sluman was at 10 under following a 64 as the field began to spread out behind Langer.
Not that Langer is taking anything for granted.
“I still have got to shoot under par tomorrow,” he said. “I feel Kenny Perry is going to go under par. There’s still 18 holes to play.”
Maybe, but Perry knows Langer isn’t going to come back to the pack. Perry estimated it would take a 63 to make things interesting today.
— The Associated Press
Bernhard Langer waves to the gallery after sinking a birdie putt on the 15th green Saturday.