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Langer takes lead at Senior Players

June 27, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bernhard Langer overpowered Fox Chapel for the second straight day, shooting a 6-under 64 on Friday to take the lead in the Senior Players Championship.

The two-time Masters champion was at 11-under 129 after 36 holes as he searches for his first victory at the Senior Players after five top-10 finishes.

Doug Garwood, tied for the first-round lead, and Bill Glasson were two strokes back. Garwood birdied two of the last three holes, and Glasson had a 64.

Joe Durant, also tied for the first-round lead, was 8 under along with Michael Allen, John Riegger and Mark McNulty. Defending champion Kenny Perry moved into contention at 7 under with a 63, the low round of the tournament so far.

After being allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls during the opening round following several days of rain, players were forced to play it down everywhere but the 14th hole at the 6,710-yard layout.

It did little to affect the deluge of low scores.

Through two rounds, nobody was lower than Langer. He opened with a 65 and used a little bit of luck to jump start his round Friday. He attempted to drive the green on the uphill 295-yard par-4 seventh only to watch his ball sail into the left rough. His pitch from 25 yards bounded onto the green and rolled into the cup for an unlikely eagle.

The attack kept coming. He added four more birdies — all from inside 12 feet — including a tricky left-to-right putt from 8 feet on the par-5 18th that gave Langer a two-shot cushion over Garwood. Langer’s only problem appeared to be the state of his driver. It broke after he teed off on 18. If it can’t be repaired in time, he might have a new driver in his bag for the first time in two years when he gets to the course Saturday.

Langer will need it to work if he wants to hold off a pack that includes Glasson and the rapidly rising Garwood.

A journeyman who spent most of his prime selling insurance when he wasn’t playing on mini-tours, Garwood is gaining confidence with each passing week on the 50-and-over circuit. He nearly won at the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa last month before falling in a playoff.

The 51-year-old Garwood joked after the first round that he wanted to lower expectations heading into the third major tournament of his Champions career, figuring if they’re low enough he’ll have no trouble surpassing them. Consider it done.

He opened with back-to-back birdies before giving both shots right back with consecutive bogeys. Undaunted, he kept firing at the slow, damp greens that have turned the tournament into so much target practice. He ended his round by birdieing the 18th for the second straight day.

Garwood was later joined by Glasson at 9 under after Glasson shot one of four 64s on a course that doesn’t look like it will firm up anytime soon.

That could turn the weekend into a shootout, which fits Perry just fine. A year ago he began the march to his first major title by shooting a 63 in the second round. He did the same Friday, though he could have gone even lower. He missed a 6-footer for birdie on No. 15 and appeared stunned when his 4-footer on No. 17 slid left of the hole.

More than half the 81-player field was at even par or better through two rounds, with 19 players within six shots of the lead.

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