Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington share lead in PGA Tour Champions event in St. Louis


ST. LOUIS — Bernhard Langer holed out for eagle from 76 yards on the opening hole and shot his age for the second time this year with a 6-under 65 for a share of the lead with Padraig Harrington in the Ascension Charity Classic.

Langer turned 65 two weeks ago. He shot a 64 in the Chubb Classic earlier this year.

Harrington, the three-time major champion and recent Ryder Cup captain for Europe, played bogey-free at Norwood Hills.

Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal and Steven Alker were in the group of 66 years.

Harrington has two wins and four runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour Champions in his first full year on the 50-and-older circuit. He is trying to get closer to Alker in the Charles Schwab Cup, although Alker does not have many bad weeks.

Langer has won the Schwab Cup a record six times, and even at his age, the two-time Masters champion is no slouch. He won the Chubb Classic early in the year for his 43rd career victory, two shy of the record held by Hale Irwin.

In a city occupied by Albert Pujols of St. Louis Cardinals, trying to reach 700 career home runs, Langer is looking to move closer to a milestone he only thinks about when asked.

“It’s fun to be in that position to have a chance to maybe catch Hale Irwin. It’s not going to be easy,” Langer said. “But 10 years ago I didn’t think it was easy and five years ago I didn’t think it was easy. And it’s still not easy. But it was great to win 43 and hopefully there will be a few more back in tank.”

Harrington is still adjusting to this environment. He’s come from behind in all three of his majors, and he feels he’s at his best when he rallies. But he is among the longest and best on the senior circuit and the Irishman says he is still learning how to manage trying to win again.

“I’ve always found I was a much better chaser than anybody in front. And the one thing about the Champions Tour now is I’ve had a few leads and I’ve got to learn and I’m learning,” he said. “Hard to believe I’m 51 years old and I’m getting better mentally.”

Steve Stricker, coming off a win two weeks ago in Michigan, and John Daly were among them at 67.

Former British Open champion Justin Leonard, who retired early to work in television, made his PGA Tour Champions debut with a 69.



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