Langer maintains 4-stroke lead on Champions Tour
SPRING, Texas (AP) Bernhard Langer has set two tournament records in the Administaff Small Business Classic. That doesn't mean the German star will put it on cruise control Sunday in the final round.
Langer shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday for a course-record 17-under 127 total and maintained his four-shot lead in the Champions Tour event.
"It's always the same with the lead," Langer said. "It's not good to sit on what you have. You've got to stay in the mind-set of making birdies."
Langer shot a course-record 62 in Friday's first round and, after a bogey on the second hole Saturday, he took off again with eight birdies over the Augusta Pines Golf Club course to maintain a comfortable lead over Mark O'Meara and Texan Tom Kite.
"I hit lots of good irons and made a few putts today," Langer said. "The only thing I wasn't happy with was No. 2."
It was the only blemish on Langer's round. He hit two shots into water hazards, including his tee shot, before getting up and down for a bogey.
"I'm comfortable anywhere if I play well," Langer said. "I've got to hit the fairways. Today, I missed a few opportunities."
Langer, a two-time Masters champion, broke the 36-hole tournament record of 128 set by defending champion Jay Haas last year.
O'Meara, who started the day five shots behind, had an 8-under 64 for a 13-under 131 total. Kite, trying to win his first tournament in his home state, shot a 65.
"I'm never overconfident, but any time you shoot under par you can't complain," O'Meara said. "You learn out here to do your best, and you can't control anyone else. If I putt like I did today and don't win, there's nothing else I can do."
Langer's second-round start wasn't as impressive as the first round when he birdied the first hole and eagled the par-5 second. On Saturday, he started par-bogey, but birdied the next hole and had two more birdies at Nos. 5 and 7. He added five birdies on the back nine, including three in a row to finish his round.
Langer is playing his fourth senior event since turning 50 on Aug. 27. He has competed in 14 PGA Tour events this season, losing in a playoff to Rory Sabbatini at the Colonial in Fort Worth.
Andy Bean (67) was seven strokes back at 10 under along with Tom Purtzer (65), Jim Thorpe (66), Lonnie Nielsen (67), Jeff Sluman (68) and Tom Jenkins (68).
Haas, the tour's leading money winner, shot a 66 to reach 9 under. Ben Crenshaw also was 9 under after a 65.
Haas led the Champions Tour point standings for 19 weeks this year before Loren Roberts took over the lead by winning last week's Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. Haas trails Roberts by 161 points and could regain the lead with a victory this week.
Haas won last year's rain-shortened 36-hole event with rounds of 63 and 65. His 63 was a course record until Langer broke it Friday.
Haas started the week with $2,431,321 in earnings this year. He's trying to become the second Champions Tour player to reach $3 million in season earnings. Hale Irwin won $3,028,304 in 2002.
John Cook and Phil Blackmar were well back in their first starts on the Champions Tour. Cook was 3 under after a 72, and Blackmar was 2 under after a 69.
O'Meara also is in his rookie year on the Champions Tour.
"You don't pole vault onto the scene," O'Meara said. "I see decent signs and I'm getting better. It would be a stepping stone for me to come through tomorrow."