Bernhard Langer has been consistently great on the PGA Tour Champions circuit, and this weekend the galleries are watching him put on another clinic.
Langer made a late charge with birdies on the last four holes, shooting a 5-under-par 67 for the second straight day on Saturday to lead by two shots after 36 holes of the 16th Annual SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club.
With one round to go Langer is at 134, followed by first-round leader Doug Garwood and Larry Mize at 136. Jeff Sluman and Paul Broadhurst are one more shot back at 137.
Langer, who won here in 2012, has had 18 straight rounds under par. Looking for his fifth tournament victory this year, he is far and away the tour’s money leader this season with $2,512,659. Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is tied for 16th in the event at 141, is second at $1,441,237.
“I played pretty steady golf throughout the whole day,” said the 59-year-old Langer, who is looking for his third straight Charles Schwab Cup and has won seven of the last eight tournaments he has led with 18 holes to play including all three this year. “I had to be very patient in the middle of my round because the putts didn’t go in. I didn’t hit my irons really close – I had a few chances here and there but just didn’t make anything.
“(Over the final four holes) I’m just happy that I’m hitting the ball decent, and that the putts go in. Birdie streaks – I don’t think much about it. I play every hole in hopes to birdie, so when it happens it’s great.”
Garwood, who shot a 65 on Friday and had held a one-shot lead, got off on the wrong foot with a double bogey on No. 1 before recovering to shoot 71. He is seeking his first win in any PGA-sponsored event.
Mize, who had been the only remaining player in the tournament without a bogey, missed a putt for par on 17 to drop out of a share of the lead. He had gone 60 straight holes without a bogey. The 1987 Masters Champion is seeking his second PGA Tour Champions victory and first in six years.
The SAS Championship marks the tour’s first ever “Wildcard Weekend.” If a player who is outside the top 72 on the money list finishes in the top 10 of the tournament, he will qualify for the playoffs.
Dan Forsman, who came into the weekend 101st in season money winnings, is in a two-way tie for eighth at 5 under and in position to grab the wild-card spot with another solid round on Sunday.
Defending champion Tom Lehman shot a 68 on Saturday and is six shots off the pace.
Reidsville’s UNC alumnus Mike Goodes shot 75 and is at 4 over heading into the final round.
Smithfield’s Neal Lancaster, who came into the weekend 75th on the money list, shot a 76 and has a two-day total of 153. He is all but eliminated from a chance at the playoffs.
The playoff tournaments are the Power Shares QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Oct. 28-30 with 72 players competing; the Dominion Charity Classic in Richmond, Va., Nov. 4-6 with 54 left; and the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 11-13 among the final 36 pros.