Langer opens up three-shot lead at Carnoustie

Bernhard LangerBernhard Langer lies three strokes clear of the field at the Senior Open Championship after signing for a two-under-par round of 69 today [Saturday] at Carnoustie. The German, who had shared the lead overnight with the USA’s Corey Pavin, made three birdies and just one bogey to pull away from his nearest challengers, many of whom fell back despite the favourable conditions.

Having made the turn in two-under-par 34, the two-time Masters Tournament Champion reached seven under par for the Championship with a birdie at the 471-yard, par-four 15th. But a late bogey at the 18th, having found a bunker from the tee, ensured that he would complete 54 holes on a score of six under.

“It was a good round of golf again.  Played very solid, and wasn't in too much trouble for the most part,” he explained. “But I'm aware of this golf course; that it's one of the toughest links you'll ever play. And I’m very much aware that the three‑shot lead is nothing, or very little, so I still need to play a very solid, very good round of golf tomorrow if I'm going to lift the trophy.

Langer did, however, briefly to allow himself to think about what it would mean to win the 2010 Senior Open Championship.

“It would be another [career] highlight, for me, having been my first Major win on the Champions Tour and having won the next best thing to an Open Championship.”

36-hole co-leader Corey Pavin, the USA’s 2010 Ryder Cup Captain, returned a one-over-par 72 to occupy second place on three under. And while it was a frustrating day for the 1995 US Open Champion, there will be no prospect of a change of game-plan as he tries to overcome the deficit tomorrow.

“I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in and that happens,” said Pavin, who will be paired with Bernhard Langer in the final game again on Sunday. “You just have to be patient.  It's not like I have to make a million birdies out there but it would have been nice for a few of them to fall in.

“Bernhard played really solidly and I can't really expect him to come back, but then again, I can't be aggressive on Carnoustie and try to kill it, because it will kill you if you try to do that.

“This course, once you start attacking and getting aggressive, it can really come up and bite you,” he added. “But if I get into position with a few holes to go, I might take a chance if I need to.  But for the most part I'll just play my own game.”

The best round of the day came from Fred Funk, who has brought himself into contention after a flawless, four-under-par round. The American has overcome a disappointing opening round of 75 with a 69 and a 67 to go into the final day tied for third place, four strokes off the lead.

Also in third place at two under par are Jay Don Blake and Russ Cochran, who both had 70s today, along with Jay Haas, Larry Mize and Ian Woosnam, all of whom posted 72s.

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