Charles Schwab Cup holder Bernhard Langer earned a 9-under 63 on Saturday to give one shot over Paul Guidos after two rounds in the PGA TOUR Champions TimberTech at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida.
Langer, who hasn’t won since the Chubb Classic in February, had 10 birds and one ghost. The 63 shots were under his age and his lowest this year. If the German can close it down on Sunday, he will move in after winning one of Hale Irwin’s record-breaking 45 in the PGA TOUR Champions.
“Yeah, sure enough the racket was working today,” said Langer, whose round only featured 21 strokes. “And I did a hole punch, so there’s no damage on that hole, and that always helps. But yeah, that’s really been the missing piece for the past few weeks and months. I felt like I’ve been hitting the ball fairly well back in the day, but I haven’t had any shots.” Shots. Today wasn’t necessarily my best shooting day, but I made a bunch of shots and fired under 9, twice the best of my life, so that’s very exciting.”
Conditions were more favorable for scoring on Saturday than during the first round on Friday, when steady 20 mph winds kept the mostly 30 players in check. However, the Langer 63 was three shots ahead of the rest of the field.
“I’ve already switched rackets,” Langer said. “Same model, same everything, but with a slightly different blade, a slightly different look than it. I was right there hitting and I could see the line, I felt the speed and I did some good hits.”
Guidos, who entered the day tied for second after a 4-under-68 in the first round, was one of three players to have a 6-under-66 on Saturday. He has five PGA TOUR Champions wins, but none since 2017.
“He’s persistent, he doesn’t make mistakes,” Guidos, 58, said of his impending duel with Langer. “He seldom outdoes himself, so it’s no surprise that he plays really well on this particular golf course. He’s from here, maybe he is, I don’t know if he sleeps in his bed, I’m sure he could be, and it probably wouldn’t hurt.” Also. He’s won the second most Champions League events ever and I’m sure he wants to be… I think he needs two or three more wins. He wants three more than anything and I’m sure that motivates him.”
The only other player to have five shots from Langer is Australian Rod Bumbling, who on Friday trailed 68 with 69 points to reach 7-under.
The group of five six-year-olds under heading into Sunday includes Darren Clark, who hit 66 on Saturday, and Schwab Cup leader and TimberTech champion Stephen Alker.
First-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 72 at 5-under.
Langer said he was less interested in Erwin’s record than achieving his second win in 2022.
“I probably wouldn’t think about it (Irwin’s record) at all,” Langer said. “I just hope I think about what’s at hand, one shot at a time. The cliched, but that’s what really counts.
“There are a lot of great golfers behind me who will play offensive golf, so I’m full on my hands and have to play a good round of golf.”