Victor recalls his debut for Proteas
Red-hot German veteran Langer rolls back years
SOME of the very best golf here yesterday was played by a 54-year-old man with a swing that is so efficient it works like a well-oiled machine.
Put it another way, Bernhard Langer – owner of 90 wins around the world in a 37-year pro career – is on the warpath again, as fiercely competitive as ever.
In the second round of the 54- hole Nedbank Senior Challenge, being played this year by eight of the world’s best over50s, he carded a fourunder-par 68 and leads on seven-under-par 137, the same score that Graeme Mcdowell is up front with in the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
And while the seniors do play off tees slightly forward of the back markers used in the main event, it’s the same greens, same bunkers, same nasty hazards, same wicked pin placements and same wind for everyone.
“I hit some really good shots and for the most part putted well,” said Langer who birdied three of the first four holes.
He did, as he put it (and here’s a man who demands perfection), make a “terrible” bogey at the eighth where he “chunked” a six-iron approach, and a “terrible” three-putt at the 11th which led to another dropped shot. But for the rest, Langer – a two-time winner of the Million Dollar Challenge, was impressive German precision.
Four former world No 1s – Langer, Nick Price, Tom Lehman and Ian Woosnam – are in the senior line-up and “Woosie”, Langer’s playing partner yesterday, is lying second on 138, just one behind his old team-mate in a bunch of Ryder Cups.
“I need to play aggressively tomorrow because Woosie’s playing well and finished strongly today. I’ve known him for 35 years and we’re both as competitive as ever,” said Langer.
American Mark Calcavecchia, still a great ball-striker and who yesterday eagled the par-5 ninth with its island green, is lying third on 140 after a 69, and three off the pace.
Price is on 142, Lehman on 143, and David Frost – like Price a three-time winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge – on level-par 144.
Defending champion Jeff Sluman is on 146 and Mark O’meara – who has fallen in love with South Africa – on 148.
Bernhard Langer… super senior