Langer and Harrington lead PGA Tour champions to St. Louis

Bernhard Langer drilled for the eagle from 76 yards on the first hole and shot his age for the second time this year with a 6-under 65 for a head share with Padraig Harrington in the Ascension Charity Classic.

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

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

Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal and Steven Alker were part of the group at 66.

Harrington has two wins and four second-place finishes on the PGA Tour Champions in his first full year on the 50+ Tour. He’s trying to get closer to Alker in the Charles Schwab Cup, although Alker doesn’t have many bad weeks.

Langer has won the Schwab Cup a record six times, and even at his age the two-time Masters champion isn’t slowing down. He won the Chubb Classic earlier this year for his 43rd career victory, two shy of the record held by Hale Irwin.

In a town obsessed with Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals trying to hit 700 career home runs, Langer is looking to get closer to a milestone he only thinks about when asked.

“It’s fun to be in this position to have a chance to catch Hale Irwin. It won’t 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 still be a few left in the tank.

Harrington is still getting used to this environment. He’s come from behind in his three majors and he feels he’s at his best when he has to rally. But he’s among the longest and best on the senior circuit, and the Irishman says he’s still learning to cope with trying to win up front.

“I’ve always found that I was a much better fighter than someone up front. And the one thing about the Champions Tour now is that I’ve had some leads and I have to learn, and I learning,” he said. “Hard to believe at 51 and I’m improving mentally.”

Steve Stricker, who was fresh off a victory two weeks ago at Michigan, and John Daly were among those 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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This story was originally published September 9, 2022 8:15 p.m.