THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Retief Goosen shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Hall of Famers Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer into the final round of the Invesco QQQ Championship, the second event in the PGA Tour Champions’ Charles Schwab Cup playoffs.
Goosen birdied five of the last seven holes on the front nine at Sherwood Country Club, added a birdie on the par-5 11th, bogeyed the par-3 12th and rebounded with a birdie on the par-4 14th. The 50-year-old South African, the Senior Players Championship winner at Firestone in July for his first senior title, had a 10-under 134 total.
“I was walking down No. 6 or so and you see Langer’s name at the top of the board and you know now you’ve got to put your foot down,” Goosen said. “Luckily, he stumbled a bit coming in, but I also sort of stumbled a bit. It’s going to be nice going up against Freddie and Bernhard tomorrow.”
Langer, the 62-year-old German star who has won the season Schwab Cup title five times, matched Couples with a 65. Langer closed with a bogey, and Couples finished with a birdie.
“I hit it a little better, a little closer and made some putts, that was really the difference,” Langer said. “Just sour to have finished with a bogey there on the last. Not the way to finish a day like that, but played really well, did everything well.”
The top 36 in the standings will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship next week in Phoenix. Goosen began the week seventh, Langer fourth and Couples 32nd.
“If you want to take away that Charles Schwab Cup, you have to win these last two events,” Goosen said. “I sort of feel like my game is there, although earlier in the week I hit the ball horrible, but my swing got better as the week went on. Today was nice. I played the par 5s horrible, but otherwise the rest of the course good.”
The 60-year-old Couples won the last of his 13 Champions titles in 2017.
“I hit a lot of very good irons and it was an easy 7 under,” Couples said. “Really the only bad shot I had was on the 10th. It was probably the easiest shot I had, it was a 100-yard sand wedge and I missed the green to the right and I made a really great up-and-down. Then the round just kept going and I made a few birdies in a row.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez, tied for the first-round lead with Billy Mayfair and Woody Austin after a 66, had a 70 to fall into a tie for fourth with defending event champion Scott Parel at 8 under. Parel shot 66.
Jimenez won the playoff opener two week ago in Virginia and is 10th in the season standings. Parel is eighth.
Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron was 5 under after a 69. Second-place Jerry Kelly had a 70 to get to 2 under.
Austin was 5 under after a 73. Mayfair had a 75 to fall to 3 under.
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