BOCA RATON (Fla.) — Bernhard Langer, who shot a 2-under-par 70 on Friday, said that it would take him “two very strong rounds” Saturday and Sunday to win the TimberTech Championship.
He beat his expectations Saturday by shooting a 9-under 63 at Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, to lead Paul Goydos by one shot heading into Sunday’s final.
Langer, 65, said that he knew it would be a tough round but that this round was special. Langer started the day with three birdies consecutively and then added two more and a bogey for a score of 4-under 32, beating his age by two strokes. Langer also had five birdies on his back nine, bringing him home in 31. This gives him a total of 11-under-133. “It is difficult to play nine under in windy conditions at this course.
Langer is the only tournament winner twice, winning in 2010 and 2019. He’s also won three seconds and two thirds. His lowest round was Saturday’s 63, and he played it at Broken Sound’s Old Course.
Langer stated that today wasn’t my best day at ball-striking, but that he made many putts and shot nine under. That’s two more than my age.
Goydos shot an impressive 66, with five birdies and a bogey. He also had an eagle-2 on 16th par-4 when he played in from the green. Californian 58-year-old Rod Pampling opened the event with a 68. He played Saturday in the final group with Miguel Angel Jimenez, first round leader, and was the 2015 winner.
Pampling (Australia) shot a 69, with three birdies, no bogeys, and was third at 7-under 135. Jimenez, who had shot 67 in his first round, managed 72 to tie for ninth at five under. After birdieing his first two holes on Saturday, Jimenez was at 8 under through nine holes to lead tournament. However, he fell to 4-under after two bogeys.
After opening with a 72, Darren Clarke, an Irishman, was as hot as Langer on Saturday. He won the 2020 TimberTech title as well as the Senior Open Championship. Clarke made five birdies on the front nine, and was seven under through the first 12 holes. This gave Clarke a lead over Langer who was four behind Clarke.
Clarke failed to make the par-4 14th, when his lob wedge approach had plugged in a greenside buner. Clarke returned to 7 under with a birdie on the par-3 15th.
Clarke’s second shot into water was at the par-5 18th. It was tied with the 13th par-5 hole as the easiest hole, with an average scoring score of 4.673. After a drop, Clarke hit his fourth shot onto green. He missed his par putt and finished with a bogey.
Clarke said, “Making six on a last is unacceptable.” He downplayed his eight birdies as well as his solid putting. “I just rolled it well and a few went into. Today, I was lucky, my speed was good, and that’s why some went in.
Langer switched to putters on Saturday, and only had 21 putts. This was helped by his bunker shot that he used for birdie on the par-4 3rd hole.
He said that the same model, same everything but with a slightly different blade and a different look about a putter he’s used for many years. He also said that he read the greens more well Saturday than he did Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the pro-ams.
“I don’t remember what I did differently, I just read the books correctly.”
Langer takes the green in Sunday’s final threesome with Pampling, Goydos and Langer. Pampling admitted Langer has the advantage.
“This course is easy to navigate. Goydos stated that you will make birdies, bogeys, and double bogeys here. “Langer is a plodder and doesn’t make mistakes. He is very humble and rarely beats himself. It’s not surprising that he plays well on this particular course.
It wouldn’t surprise Goydos that Langer had another very good round.