Langer looks des­tined for third ma­jor of sea­son

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By James Cor­ri­gan

Bern­hard Langer will have to go some for the same 13-stroke mar­gin of vic­tory he en­joyed at Royal Porth­cawl three years ago. But it would take a brave per­son to bet against the Ger­man com­plet­ing a Se­nior Open dou­ble on the Glam­or­gan coast­line.

A third-round 65 gave the 59-yearold a four-shot lead and brought the third ma­jor win of the sea­son tan­ta­lis­ingly into fo­cus.

The only pre­vi­ous player to notch up a ma­jor tre­ble in a sin­gle cam­paign on the over-50s cir­cuit? A cer­tain Jack Nick­laus, 26 years ago. In truth, Langer has al­ready eclipsed ev­ery­thing the Golden Bear achieved in the veter­ans’ di­vi­sion.

Porth­cawl could just be Langer’s favourite hunt­ing ground. He was once again in his el­e­ment on this rel­a­tively glo­ri­ous Satur­day. Af­ter two days of ruinous wind and driv­ing rain, the sun was in­ter­ested enough to make an ap­pear­ance and yet again it was proved that, when Mother Na­ture obliges, then so, too, does the links.

On Fri­day, there had been 49 scores of 80 and above. Yes­ter­day, there was not one. Tom Wat­son, Mr Ev­er­green him­self, shot his age – a 67 – and so many in the field fol­lowed suit.

There was not a sin­gle sub-70 round in the se­cond round. In the third round, there were 31.

Corey Pavin was one of five to em­u­late Langer’s six-un­der mag­nif­i­cence, tak­ing a huge leap to one-un­der. Yet it seems as if the diminu­tive Amer­i­can will have to set­tle for se­cond best in Wales for the se­cond time this decade.

The 2010 US Ry­der Cup cap­tain – who was so un­for­tu­nate to see his team beaten by a point at Celtic Manor – can at the very least claim brag­ging rights over the 2010 Europe cap­tain. Colin Mont­gomerie could muster “only” a one-un­der 70 and, on four-over, it seems al­most cer­tain that the Scot will have to wait an­other year to ful­fil his Se­nior Open am­bi­tion.

Pavin is ready to tackle Langer, but is aware of the task he faces. Langer has won seven of the past 16 ma­jors. He is 60 next month, but shows no sign of stop­ping

“Oh, that guy,” Pavin said with a smile when asked about his fi­nal round play­ing part­ner. “He’s just been play­ing ex­cep­tional golf for a long time now. As a se­nior, yes, but his whole ca­reer has been fan­tas­tic.

“He’s a tough guy to go af­ter. But I can be tough some­times, too, and I just know I have to go out and play my game and let it hap­pen. And if it hap­pens, it hap­pens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I can’t be con­cerned about Bern­hard. Maybe the last cou­ple of holes, if it be­comes the two of us, but a lot can hap­pen.”

The Australian Peter Lonard is in third, while Miguel An­gel Jimenez, the pony­tailed Spa­niard and an­other of yes­ter­day’s 65 brigade, is in the group on one-un­der in fourth. Fly­ing the Welsh flag one be­hind is Phillip Price.

At the Ladies Scot­tish Open at Dun­don­ald, the Australian Kar­rie Webb (70) and the Korean Sei Young Kim (69) lead on six-un­der, two clear of Cristie Kerr (73), of the US.

Ge­or­gia Hall, the 21-year-old from Bournemouth who is set to make her Sol­heim Cup bow next month, leads the Bri­tish chal­lenge in a tie for sixth on level par af­ter a 72.

Bet­ter with age: Bern­hard Langer leads by four go­ing into the fi­nal round of the Se­nior Open

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