Bernhard Langer moved closer to his first Senior Players Championship victory Saturday, shooting a four-under-par 66 in the third round at Pittsburgh to stay in front of hard-charging Kenny Perry.
Langer was at 15-under 195 through 54 holes in the third Champions Tour major the season, where he has five top-10 finishes but no victories. The two-time Masters champion shook off a slow start with a four-under 31 on the back nine.
Perry, trying to join Arnold Palmer as the only player to win the Senior Players in consecutive years, briefly took the lead midway through the round before settling for a 65 that left him three strokes behind Langer.
Russ Cochran, Joe Durant and Bill Glasson were four back. Cochran had a 63, the low round of the day at Fox Chapel. Durant shot 67, and Glasson had a 68.
Jeff Sluman was at 10 under after a 64 as the field began to spread out behind Langer.
The 56-year-old Langer, a two-time winner this year, began the day with the lead but also concerns about his driver after a broken screw in the clubhead was repaired. It turned out to be fine, and after finding himself one shot behind Perry at the turn, Langer birdied four of five holes to take command.
There's always slight doubts," Langer said of the driver. "You're putting something together. They say it's the same, but you're never sure it's the same … I was convinced it was very close to the same. You don't want it to get into your head."
Langer has been one of the most dominant players on the Champions Tour since making his debut in 2007. He has won 20 times since turning 50, including the Senior British Open and the U.S. Senior Open in 2010. He has challenged frequently at the Senior Players, where he has never finished worse than 13th in six starts, including a tie for eighth behind Perry last June.
Reed on top by two
Patrick Reed held it together at Congressional to build a two-shot lead in the Quicken Loans National and put himself in an ideal position.
He has never lost a PGA Tour event when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
Reed made three bogeys in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round at Bethesda, Md., and salvaged an even-par 71, giving him a two-shot lead over Seung-yul Noh, Freddie Jacobson and Marc Leishman going into the final round.
He was at six-under 207.
Reed will try to become the only player with four PGA Tour victories in the last year, and history is on his side. He won the Wyndham Championship when tied for the lead going into Sunday, and he converted a seven-shot lead at the Humana Challenge and a two-shot lead at Doral into victories.
Congressional has been tough all week, and with another day of broiling sunshine, the fairways were running faster and the greens were turning slightly yellow.
Reed matched the highest score to par for a 54-hole leader in a tour event at Congressional. The other time was in 1983 at the old Kemper Open.
"That was one of those days that we were able to grind it out," Reed said. "It played tough. It seemed to get firmer and faster as the day went on, and it was just a lot of adjusting you had to do during the round. We handled it pretty well, and luckily we have the lead going into tomorrow."
Noh finished off his five-under 66 — the best score of the third round — about the time the leaders went off.
Wie takes lead
Michelle Wie shot her second consecutive five-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the suspended second round of the NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.
Coming off a victory Sunday in the U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst, Wie had six birdies and a bogey in her morning round at Pinnacle Country Club.
So Yeon Ryu, paired with Wie, was second after her second straight 67.
Seventy-two players were unable to finish the round because of afternoon thunderstorms.
Suzann Pettersen, Chella Choi and Line Vedel were three strokes back, and top-ranked and local favorite Stacy Lewis was four shots behind at six under. First-round leader Alena Sharp was four under after 15 holes.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times