Langer, Mag­gert share lead af­ter third round of US Se­nior Open

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY AN­TO­NIO GON­ZA­LEZ

The crammed leader­board at the U.S. Se­nior Open has some fa­mil­iar faces head­ing into the fi­nal round and one no­table name no­body ex­pected to chal­lenge for another ma­jor.

Good luck pre­dict­ing what will hap­pen Sun­day.

Bern­hard Langer and Jeff Mag­gert shared the lead at 5-un­der 205 at Del Paso, where con­di­tions cooled off Satur­day af­ter con­sec­u­tive days above 37 de­grees Cel­sius. But the com­pe­ti­tion re­mained hot, with eight play­ers one shot off the lead, in­clud­ing 65-year-old Tom Wat­son and de­fend­ing cham­pion Colin Mont­gomerie.

Langer shot a 2-un­der 68, and Mag­gert had a 70.

Wat­son, who was tied with Mag­gert and Peter Fowler through 36 holes, sal­vaged a 71 af­ter mak­ing a 20-foot par putt on the 18th hole that sent the gallery into a roar. Mont­gomerie had a 70, and Kenny Perry surged into con­tention with a 64.

The trio was joined by Fred Funk (68), Grant Waite (69), Scott Dun­lap (68), Woody Austin (69) and Jim Carter (70). Fowler shot a 72 and was among six play­ers at 3 un­der.

“The only way to sep­a­rate your­self is by play­ing great golf,” said Langer, who should feel com­fort­able in this po­si­tion.

Langer and Mont­gomerie have com­bined to win six of the pre­vi­ous seven se­nior ma­jor cham­pi­onships. Mag­gert had the other vic­tory dur­ing that stretch ear­lier this year at The Tra­di­tion, where Perry won in 2014.

The lone con­tender no­body saw com­ing is the Hall of Famer who has made a ca­reer of win­ning on golf’s big­gest stages. It’s just been a while. Wat­son, an eight-time ma­jor cham­pion on the PGA Tour, is decades past his prime. He’s is try- ing to be­come the old­est win­ner of the event, the old­est to win a se­nior ma­jor and the old­est to win on the Cham­pi­ons Tour.

Each leader took a route through 54 holes.

No­body more than Perry, who came out of nowhere with six birdies on his front nine — ty­ing a nine-hole event record with a 28 — and be­fore shoot­ing par on his back nine. Perry, who be­gan the day seven shots off the lead, was so far out of con­tention he started his round on the back nine un­der the split-tee setup.

Now he’ll try to com­plete another huge come­back in this cham­pi­onship in front of a crowd.

Perry ral­lied from 10 strokes be­hind af­ter 36 holes to win the 2013 U.S. Se­nior Open in scorch­ing heat at Omaha Coun­try Club. He turned in fi­nals rounds of 64 and 63 for a five-stroke vic­tory.

Mont­gomerie shot 2 un­der on his front nine be­fore giv­ing it back af­ter the turn. Mag­gert made three birdies and three bo­geys,

dif­fer­ent in­clud­ing on the 18th for a chance to take sole pos­ses­sion of the lead. And Langer looked com­fort­able again with his usual cad­die, Terry Holt, back on the bag for him.

Holt sat out the first two days re­cov­er­ing from a re­ac­tion to a spi­der bite on his leg. Bobby Si­ravo, a Del Paso mem­ber and for­mer pro­fes­sional golfer, cad­died for Langer on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Langer’s long put­ter car­ried him again, in­clud­ing a 25-foot birdie on No. 13. But his ap­proach on the 18th landed in the long, lush rough be­low the green, and he missed an 8-foot putt to save par.

Even still, Langer has been as good as any­body on the Cham­pi­ons Tour in this spot.

The 57-year-old Ger­man won his sec­ond straight Se­nior Play­ers Cham­pi­onship two weeks ago. And he has won five se­nior ma­jors, which is tied for fifth most.

Just don’t call him — or any­body — a fa­vorite Sun­day.

AP

Bern­hard Langer re­acts af­ter his shot ended up in the haz­ard on the 18th hole dur­ing the third round of the U.S. Se­nior Open golf tour­na­ment at Del Paso Coun­try Club on Satur­day, June 27.

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