When Bernie turned 64: Langer shoots his age on birthday (Friday), shares lead at Ally Challenge in bid for 42nd senior win

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A day after Bernhard Langer shot 64 on his 64th birthday, the ageless wonder birdied two of the last three holes on Saturday to shoot 66 and claim a share of the 36-hole lead with Doug Barron at the Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

“I didn’t age two years today, I just want to say that,” Langer quipped. “I’m not 66 today.”

Langer shot a bogey-free round and credited a hot putter for his low score.

“Didn’t make too many of the closer ones, but made three or four long ones, which is fun,” he said. “I haven’t done that in a while.”

It put Langer, who is winless since March 2020, in a strong position to pick off his 42nd title on Sunday since joining the PGA Tour Champions at age 50. Only Hale Irwin with 45 victories has more wins on the senior circuit.

Langer said he was serenaded three separate times with a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” by the gallery on Friday. In the rain-delayed first round, he carded nine birdies and a bogey at Warwick Hills in shooting his age for the first time in a tournament.

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“I was texting with my family this morning because of the rain delay and I said, ‘My goal is to shoot my age today and give myself a birthday present,’ ” Langer recalled after the round. “Just shows you the strengths of the mind if you put something in your mind and a goal and sometimes you can achieve it.”

Barron, who won two weeks ago at the Shaw Charity Classic, fired a bogey-free 64 to improve to 14-under 202.

“I’m playing with kind of a heavy heart. My sponsor, my dearest friend, had a stroke last Sunday and he’s in ICU, and really his son told me to play this week for him. So, Mr. George Brian, I’m just thinking of him. He owns Waverly and a course called Mossy Oak in West Point, Mississippi. Really just thinking about him all day.

“And my son gets deployed next week, I’m going to see him tomorrow night. I’ve got a lot of things on my mind, golf’s not really important. So I guess the lesson of the week is don’t think about golf so much.”

Langer enters the week third in the Charles Schwab Cup point standings and said a victory would cap off a wonderful birthday week.

“It’s going to take a low one because it’s really bunched up, it’s not just Doug Barron and I, there’s about 15, 20 guys that can still win this tournament going low,” Langer said. “We can’t afford to sit on our laurels and make pars and hope to win this tournament. You’ve got to go low tomorrow to have a chance to take the trophy away.”