Langer Vaults to Top at Senior Players Championship

Bernhard Langer followed up his opening 5-under 65 with a 64 Friday to take the halfway lead in the Senior Players Championship. The $2.7 million event - the third major of the year on the Champions Tour - is taking place at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh.

The 56-year-old German, a two-time Masters champion with 20 victories on the over-50 circuit, posted five birdies Thursday.

Though he had his first bogey of the tournament on the par-4 13th hole, Langer added five more birdies and an eagle on the par-4 seventh.

The only glitch for Langer, the season leader in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, was that he broke his driver after teeing off on the par-5 18th hole, which he birdied. Langer has had the club in his bag for the past two years.

"I'm going, 'Wow, what's the rattling for?' " said Langer, a two-time winner this season. "And I grabbed the head, it was loose. So something broke inside the screw that holds the shaft in, I think it's broken."

Langer, who got his eagle by holing out from the rough with a wedge, stands at 11-under 129, two strokes clear of 18-hole co-leader Doug Garwood, who had a 67 after starting with a 64, and Bill Glasson (64).

Also shooting 64s at the rain-softened Fox Chapel course - a classic Seth Raynor design playing just over 6,700 yards - were John Riegger and Michael Allen, who moved into a tie for fourth at 132 with Joe Durant (68) and Zimbabwean Mark McNulty (66).

The low round of the day - a 7-under 63 - was put up by defending champion Kenny Perry, who now shares eighth at 7-under 133 with fellow Americans Mark Brooks (67) and Mark O'Meara (66) and Australian Peter Fowler (68).

Perry, the reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion, had seven birdies. The 53-year-old Kentuckian heads into the weekend seeking his fourth Champions Tour major title in the past year.

Perry has been impressed with the play of Langer. "He's playing flawless golf," Perry told reporters. "He's hitting it perfect, so he's going to be a hard man to catch."

The third 18-hole co-leader, David Frost of South Africa, posted a 71 to drop into a tie for 12th at 6-under with Marco Dawson (68), Larry Mize (69) and Corey Pavin (69).

Tom Lehman, winner of last week's Encompass Championship, has carded rounds of 67 and 69 to get to 4-under 136.

After posting rounds of 77 and 73, Nick Price withdrew from the no-cut tournament, reducing the field to 80 players for the weekend.

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