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Bernhard Langer, Gene Sauers share lead in SAS Championship

In this April 1, 2017 file photo, Gene Sauers waves to the crowd after sinking a putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Champions Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic golf tournament in Biloxi, Miss. (Tim Isbell / Sun Herald via AP)
In this April 1, 2017 file photo, Gene Sauers waves to the crowd after sinking a putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the Champions Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic golf tournament in Biloxi, Miss. (Tim Isbell / Sun Herald via AP)
Associated Press

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer birdied three of the final four holes Saturday for a 5-under 67 and a share of the SAS Championship lead with Gene Sauers.

A day after nearly shooting his age with a 62 to match Sauers and Tom Lehman for the first-round lead, the 61-year-old Langer kept pace with Sauers at 15-under 129.

Langer had six birdies and a bogey at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He won the Insperity Invitational in May in Texas for his 37th PGA Tour Champions victory.

“It’s very important to get back in the rhythm and hit some good shots, which I settled down after I caught a not so good patch in the middle of the round,” Langer said. “Started off great with two birdies, actually three birdies in the first five and then didn’t get up-and-down on 7, the par 5, or hit a bad second shot. It was reachable for me. Ran into a bad patch there where I just struggled with my iron game mostly, but then pulled it all together toward the end.”

Sauers birdied two of the last three holes.

“I just told myself, `Same thing today,“’ Sauers said. “I was just kind of taking right aim at it and just playing my game. The putts, it was a little tougher today. Of course, I didn’t hit it as close as I did the day before, obviously.”

He won the 2016 U.S. Senior Open for his lone victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Lehman had a 70 to drop three strokes behind his playing partners in the final event for the top 72 players to qualify for the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.

“Gene played great. Tom played really good earlier and then didn’t finish quite as strong,” Langer said. “There’s a lot of good players out here, you’ve just got to keep the pedal down.”

Jerry Kelly was 11 under after a 67.

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