NAPLES, Fla. — Bernhard Langer remained in position to tie Hale Irwin‘s PGA Tour Champions victory record of 45, shooting a 2-under 70 on Saturday to take a 1-stroke lead into the final round of the Chubb Classic.
The 65-year-old Langer, the winner last year, had a 10-under 134 total on Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course after bettering his age Friday with a 64.
Charles Schwab Cup winner Steven Alker (65) was a stroke back with Jerry Kelly (66), Dicky Pride (70) and Paul Goydos (71).
At 8 under, 2 shots back, were Fred Couples, who shot 69 with bogeys at two par 5s, and Steve Stricker (69), who is seeking a record fourth consecutive PGA Tour Champions victory.
Langer already is the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history, having won the TimberTech Championship last fall after his 65th birthday.
With wind blowing steadily beyond 15 mph Saturday, Langer had to work hard for his 70. In all, 10 players will begin the final round within 3 shots of the German star.
“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 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 the par-5 12th and 15th.
“It was tough,” Langer said. “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.”
Langer has won the Chubb four times already, on multiple courses. A fifth victory at the Chubb would be the second-most victories by any PGA Tour Champions player at a single event. Irwin, the man whose record Langer will try to run down Sunday, won the Turtle Bay Championship in Hawai’i six times.
“Anytime you do something that hasn’t been done, it’s an achievement and something special, and this certainly would be,” Langer said when asked about Irwin’s record. “When I came out here and I saw Hale Irwin’s 45 wins, I’m going, ‘Wow! That’s incredible! I don’t see that will ever be broken kind of thing.'”