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Bernhard Langer enters final round with shot at history

Bernhard Langer enters final round with shot at history

Bernhard Langer, the ageless one – though his Florida driver’s license states he is 65 – will enter Sunday at the Chubb Classic with a shot at history, looking to tie Hale Irwin’s mark for all-time PGA Tour Champions victories (45) at Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course.

Langer won at Chubb a year ago and already is the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history, having won last fall’s TimberTech Championship after his 65th birthday. With winds blowing steadily beyond 15 mph during Saturday’s second round in Naples, Florida, Langer had to work hard for his 2-under 70, and will take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round over a quartet of players.

Langer stands at 10-under 134, a stroke better than 2022 Charles Schwab Cup winner Steven Alker (65), Jerry Kelly (66), Dicky Pride (70) and Paul Goydos (71). At 8-under 136, two shots back, are Fred Couples, who shot 69 despite bogeys at two par 5s on Saturday, and Steve Stricker (69), who is seeking a record fourth consecutive PGA Tour Champions victory.

In all, 10 players will begin the final round within three shots of Langer. Sunday could be wild.

“To win with this kind of leaderboard, you’ve got to play a near-flawless round of golf, I think,” Langer said. “You’ve got to have a pretty low score, one of the lowest scores tomorrow, and that’s got to be my goal.”

A day after coasting to an opening 64, making eight birdies, Langer had to fight for a number on Saturday. A bogey at the par-4 11th hole left him at level par for the round, but he edged back ahead down the stretch with birdies on two of the par 5s (12 and 15) on the back nine. He failed to birdie the 533-yard closing hole but will sleep on a one-shot advantage. Pride and Couples each got to double-digits under par at one point but did not finish there.

“It was tough. The wind was gusting anywhere from 10 to 25 mph, it seemed, so it was hard to grab the right club at the right time, and challenging pin positions at times,” said Langer, whose iron play was not as crisp as it had been a day earlier.

“Whenever the wind is blowing that strong and you have a little bit of sidespin or something, or even straight into the wind, I came up a couple of times short, a couple of times long. The targets are small here, so it punishes you pretty quick.”

Langer has won the Chubb four times, on multiple courses. A fifth victory at the Chubb would be the second-most victories by any Champions player at a single event; Irwin,…


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