BOCA RATON, Florida. After a 2-under par 70 in the first round on Friday, Bernhard Langer said he would need “two very good rounds” on Saturday and Sunday for a chance at the TimberTech Championship.
On Saturday, he surpassed his expectations by launching the 9th Under 63 player at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club to one shot clear of Paul Goidos before advancing to Sunday’s final.
“I knew it was going to be a very good round, but this was a very special round,” said Langer, 65, who started the day with three consecutive birdies and added two more birdies and a scarecrow to come out at 4 under 32. to defeat his age by two shots. He also had five birdies on a back nine to return home at 31 for a two-round total of 11 under 133. “Nine under in windy conditions on this track is not easy.”
Langer is the only two-time winner of the tournament, with wins in 2010 and 2019, and is three seconds and two thirds. Saturday’s round 63 was his lowest round in the tournament, which was previously held at the Old Course at Broken Sound.
“Today wasn’t really necessarily my best day for hitting the ball,” Langer said, “but I made some putts and scored 9 fewer, two more than I was my age, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Goidos hit 66 with five birdies, a bogey and an eagle-2 on a short par-4 on the 16th as he hit the pitch straight off the green. The 58-year-old Californian, who won the tournament in 2015, started with 68 points and played in the final group with Rod Pampling and first-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez on Saturday.
Pampling from Australia hit 69 with three birds and no ghosts and was the only one in third with a 7-under 137. Jimenez hit 72 after his first 67 and was ninth with 5 under. The Spaniard hit his first two holes on Saturday and got to 8 under nine holes to lead the tournament, but two ghosts and a double bogey dropped him to 4 under before he hit the 17th hole.
Irishman Darren Clarke, who won the 2020 TimberTech title and Senior Open Championship this summer, got off to the same hot start on Saturday as Langer, starting with 72 points. which at the time gave him an advantage over Langer, who played in four groups behind Clark.
Clarke spooked a par-4 in 14th place when he was unable to get up and down after his canopy approach wedged into a bunker on the green. He immediately returned with a birdie on par-3 on the 15th to return to 7 below.
On par-5 hole 18, which was tied with par-5 hole 13 as the easiest hole with a 4.673 average, Clark hit his second shot into the water. After falling, he landed his fourth pitch to the lawn and missed his par hit to finish with a ghost and 6-to-66 to go from a tie for 23rd to a tie for fourth with four others.
“Getting a six on the last one is unforgivable,” said Clark, who downplayed his eight birdies and solid putting. “I just gave it a good ride and a few went in. I was lucky today, my speed was mostly good, so a few dropped in.”
Langer switched putters on Saturday and had only 21 putters, helped when he hit a birdie bunker shot on the third par-4 hole.
“Same model, same everything, but a slightly different blade, a slightly different look,” he said of a stick he used years ago. He also said he read the green better on Saturday than he did during pro games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“I don’t know what I did differently, I just read them right.”
Langer plays in the final threesome on Sunday with Pampling and Goidos, who admitted Langer has the upper hand.
“This is a course where you just have to plod along. Here you will make birds, as well as scarecrows and double scarecrows,” said Goidos. “(Langer) is a workaholic, he doesn’t make mistakes. He very rarely beats himself, so it’s no surprise that he plays well on this particular golf course.”
So it probably won’t surprise Goidos if Langer has another very good round.
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