Bernhard Langer carded nine birdies to surge four shots clear of a chasing pack that includes Roger Chapman heading into the final round of the US Senior Open in Michigan.
Langer’s six under par 64 took him clear of Chapman, John Huston, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin and Tom Pernice, Jr as he advanced to ten under par 200 following his best round in a senior major at Indianwood Golf and Country Club.
His outstanding round put him in pole position to claim a third senior Major following his two Majors in 2010 when he won the Senior Open Championship victory at Carnoustie before travelling to and winning the US Senior Open. If he should win tomorrow, he would become only the sixth player to win multiple US Senior Open titles, joining Miller Barber (1982, 1984, 1985), Gary Player (1987, 1988), Jack Nicklaus (1991, 1993), Hale Irwin (1998, 2000) and Allen Doyle (2005, 2006).
Three birdies to start quickly moved him ahead of a faltering Lance Ten Broeck, the 36-hole leader. Through 12 holes the double Masters Champion was eight under par without a five on his scorecard but a double-bogey at the par-three 13th hole ended any chances of breaking Loren Roberts’ record of 62 set at the 2006 US Senior Open at Prairie Dunes in Kansas. His nine birdies, however, were the most in a round at the U.S. Senior Open since Russ Cochran in 2009.
“The big difference was the putter,” said Langer. “The first two days I might have played better golf and didn't putt as good. Today I made my share.”
Roger Chapman, bidding to win a second successive Senior Major after his victory in the US Senior PGA Championship in May, carded a third successive 68 to remain in contention.
After eight pars to start, Chapman looked to get his round going with birdies either side of the turn but then dropped three shots in row from the 11th. But the Englishman rallied with three birdies in his last four holes to keep Langer within reach.
“I'll probably need 63, 64, something like that, depending on the weather conditions tomorrow,” said Chapman. “Bernhard’s not going to back off. He's going to be tough to beat. If you're going to beat him tomorrow, you're going to have to play really, really well.”