BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Mark Calcavecchia birdied the last three holes Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer into the final round of the PGA Tour Champions’ Boca Raton Championship.
Calcavecchia shot a 6-under 66 at The Old Course at Broken Sound, rebounding from bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 with the late birdie run.
”Kind of really saved the day with that,” Calcavecchia said. ”I’m super happy. I’m playing well and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
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He made 30-footers on the par-3 16th and par-4 17th and set up a 3-foot putt on the par-5 18th with a chip after leaving an approach from the right pine straw to the right of the green.
”I was so bummed out I bogeyed 14 because I really hit a beautiful shot,” Calcavecchia said. ”And then to bogey 15, I’m like, `No, I’m playing too good, I can’t screw this up.’ Just like I hit a good shot into 16 and I decided I’m going to make this, this is ridiculous. And I just, sure enough, I just made it. So it felt good to talk myself into that and wheel that one in.”
Langer, the 2010 winner in his home event, had his second straight 66.
”I know the golf course well enough, it’s just a matter of hitting the proper shots,” Langer said. ”It’s a golf course where it’s a shot-maker’s golf course, really. You have to hit fairways, and all the greens are elevated, and when you miss it, the ball runs off and it’s difficult to get it up-and-down. So, I’m focusing on hitting a lot of fairways and hitting a lot of groans.”
The 60-year-old German star won seven times last season, three of the victories majors.
”I’m going to have to make birdies no matter what, because if Calc is playing the way he is playing, it’s going to be 20 under, something like that.” Langer said ”I have my work cut out to shoot a low number. It may be a bit more windy, so that could make it a little harder.”
The 57-year-old Calcavecchia had a 14-under 130 total. He opened with a 64 for a one-stroke lead in the senior tour’s first full-field event of the season, and kept his two-shot advantage over Langer.
”Obviously, as good as he is, by a mile our best player, he’s not going to have a bad day,” Calcavecchia said. ”I’m not expecting him to shoot even as little as 2 or 3 under, I expect him to shoot 6 or 7 under. I’ve got to go out and I feel like I’ve got to shoot 6 or 7 under to beat him.”
Langer is using daughter Jackie as his caddie.
”It’s fun having her on the bag, it’s great,” Langer said. ”She always wanted to caddie and we felt this was a good one to do it. It’s a flat golf course. I know the course quite well, so I don’t need a lot of help.”
Calcavecchia won the last of his three senior titles in 2015. He won the 1989 British Open for one of his 13 PGA Tour titles.
Bart Bryant had a 64 to match Jerry Smith (67) at 10 under.
”I’ll have to shoot another low round tomorrow,” Bryant said. ”I played good the last 27 holes. I shot 37 my first nine, which that normally knocks you out of a tournament. It’s pretty difficult to come back. Luckily, I had a little bit of a hot streak.”
Paul Broadhurst (66), Steve Flesch (68) and Michael Allen (68) were 9 under. John Daly followed an opening 67 with a 73 to drop to 4 under. Defending champion Scott McCarron was 2 under after a 69.
Charlie Rymer struggled again in his debut on the 50-and-over tour, shooting a 77. After playing the final six in 4 over Friday in a 75, he was 6 over on the first 11 in the second round.