EDMOND, Okla. – Bernhard Langer has a chance to win his second U.S. Senior Open Championship on Sunday. No one should be surprised.
Langer 56, has continued to defy the odds, playing solid golf throughout the 2014 season after passing the mythical 55 barrier that is supposed to signal a decline in skills. The two-time Masters champion has won three times on the Champions Tour, including the Constellation Senior Players Championship, his second major among 21 senior titles.
After an even-par 71 Saturday, he will begin the final round at Oak Tree National at 12:40 p.m. CDT three strokes behind leader Gene Sauers, with whom he will play in the final pairing.
"If you had asked me on Tuesday or Wednesday would you take three shots back and second place, I would have said I think I would, so I'm pretty happy with that," Langer said. "I've played pretty solid golf for three days in a row and the putter was hot yesterday. Wasn't so hot [Saturday], but, you know, we'll see what happens tomorrow. We've still got 18 holes to go. It's a lot of golf left, and anything can happen."
Langer, who won the 2010 U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., held a share of the lead for much of the afternoon Saturday until his putter decided to take the rest of the day off. He suffered four lip-outs on the inward nine from short distances.
"Actually I played better today than I did yesterday," he said after completing 54 holes in 4-under 209. "Yesterday I made a bunch of putts. Today I had a bunch of lip-outs. I probably should have had 69 today. I played well enough for that score. Actually hit a bunch of decent putts but I think I had three, four lip-outs in a row there from anywhere from 6 to 12 feet and those hurt. You can't get those back. But I was pleased with the way I struck the golf ball and, as I said, yesterday I putted good, today I played good. So, tomorrow hopefully get both together."
If he does put it all together, the native of Germany already has figured out just how special the win would be in a year when Martin Kaymer has been resurgent and the German national soccer team is on the verge of winning the World Cup.
"I'm trying to emulate what Martin did," Langer said, grinning. "He won The Players Championship and then the U.S. Open. I won The [Senior] Players Championship 10 days ago, now I'm trying to win the Senior U.S. Open and, hopefully, Germany will win the World Cup. Overall, we've been doing OK."
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer whose work previously has appeared on USGA websites.