BRIDGEND, Wales (AP) — Bernhard Langer shot a bogey-free 6-under 65 on Saturday in calmer conditions at Royal Porthcawl to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior British Open.
The 59-year-old German star is chasing his fifth victory in the last 10 major championships. He had a 5-under 208 total.
“Definitely efficient,” Langer said. “What happened really good today was my driving was really, really good. Hit a lot of fairways. Hit the ball solid, which then gives you the opportunity to have shorter irons with distance control and I hit some really good irons to pin-high, pretty close. Gave myself opportunities. The putter wasn’t brilliant but it wasn’t bad. So overall, a very, very solid round.”
Corey Pavin was second, also shooting 65 in some afternoon rain and wind gusting to 20 mph – far gentler conditions than Thursday and Friday.
“It was certainly an easier day to play golf. No doubt about that,” Pavin said. “It was almost balmy out there. It was nice not to have to wear a sweater. The wind was down. It was definitely gettable today.”
Langer has a record nine senior major titles, winning the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship in consecutive weeks in May. He won by 13 strokes the last time the tournament was held on the south Wales course, finishing at 18 under in 2014, and also won the 2010 event at Carnoustie.
“Same mentality as the last few days. I’ve still got to be aggressive,” Langer said. “There’s a lot of guys waiting for me to fall apart or whatever. So I need to shoot a good round, hopefully under par, depending on the conditions. If I can do that, then I make it difficult for the other guys to catch me.”
Peter Lonard (67) was third at even par, and Miguel Angel Jimenez (65), Steve Flesch (71) and Billy Mayfair (71) were 1 over.
Tom Watson matched his age with a 67 to move into a tie for 11th at 3 over.
“I was pretty pleased with it,” Watson said. “I kept the ball in play very well today. … It was a pleasure to have a reprieve with the weather. The last two days, you’re beating your head against the wall almost on every hole, just trying to struggle to make par.”
He has won the event three times after winning the British Open five times.