Senior Open: Langer remains in control


Series: Champions Tour

By Trevor Peake, Associated Press

BRIDGEND, Wales (AP) -- Bernhard Langer stretched his lead to eight strokes Saturday in the Senior British Open, shooting a 3-under 68 at Royal Porthcawl to reach 14-under 199.

The 56-year-old German matched the Champions Tour record for the largest 54-hole lead in a 72-hole event set by Jack Nicklaus in the 1991 Senior PGA. At 14 under, Langer also tied the tournament 54-hole record set by Carl Mason at 14-under 196 in 2003 at Turnberry.

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After opening with rounds of 65 and 66 to open a seven-stroke lead, Langer had four birdies and a bogey in the round. He settled for a birdie on the par-5 18th after missing an eagle chance from 10 feet. He dropped his only shot on the par-4 10th.

"I played very nicely, got off to a good start," Langer said. "Then I maybe played a little safe for a couple of holes. ... I had a good touch, hit a couple of good trick shots toward the end, and drove the ball very well, hit some amazing straight drives and long drives. I mean the one on 18 I can't believe how far I went, but that's how it is right now. It's very bouncy and firm."

Langer won the 2010 tournament at Carnoustie and lost in a playoff last year at Royal Birkdale. He also led going into the final round at Turnberry in 2012, only to fade on the final day.

"It's very exciting," Langer said. "The only major European senior golf, and it's a beautiful trophy. It's a great title, and yeah, it would be very exciting to win a second one."

Langer won the Senior Players Championship last month for his third senior major victory and has three Champions Tour wins this year to push his career total to 21.

"There's still a lot of golf left. This is a tough course," Langer said." I think we're going to have a lot of wind tomorrow, so I still have to hit a lot of good golf shots and make some putts and stay out of trouble."

Canada's Rick Gibson was second after a 66. American Bob Tway was 5 under after a 66.

Americans Tom Watson and Scott Dunlap and England's Chris Williams were tied for fourth at 4 under, and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, American Fred Couples and England's Barry Lane were 3 under.

Montgomerie, seeking his third straight senior major title, played the back-nine in 4-over 40 for a 72.

"Bernhard's the best player out here and he's proving it," Montgomerie said. "I had a horrendous back nine, now the best I can do is second."

Jeff Sluman was 2 under after a 67. He opened with four straight birdies before dropping a stroke at the short fifth. He eagled the par-5 sixth and birdied the seventh en route to a front nine of 6-under 29.

Ireland's Philip Walton matched the low round of the week with a 64 to move from 7 over to even par.

New Zealand's Greg Turner had the first hole-in-one of the week, holing a 9-iron on the 165-yard 15th on his way to a 66. He was 1 under overall.