Champions Golf Tour

Langer 1 clear of Couples at Senior Open

Ayrshire, Scotland (Sports Network) - Former champion Bernhard Langer shot 4- under 66 on Saturday to grab a 1-stroke lead after three rounds of The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.

Langer, the 2010 winner, finished 54 holes at 7-under-par 203, which put him one clear of Fred Couples. The two former Masters champions will be paired together in the final round.

"It's always fun playing with Freddy. We've had some great matches over the years," Langer said in a televised interview. "He's a great player and a great champion. There's other players still in the hunt too, but it should be good being last out for Freddy."

Couples, who is playing this championship for the first time, fired a 6-under 64 to jump into second place at minus-6.

It won't be a two-man race though as Peter Fowler is two shots off the lead at 5-under-par 205 after a third-round 65.

Second-round leader Gary Hallberg stumbled to a 3-over 73 to slide into a share of fourth at minus-3. He stands alongside Barry Lane and John Cook, who both carded 66s in round three.

Hallberg fell out of the lead quickly as be bogeyed three of the first four holes to dip to 3-under par.

Langer took advantage as he drained a 15-footer for birdie at the first and later birdied the fourth to move to 5-under.

After stumbling to a bogey on the fifth, Langer erased that error with a birdie on No. 6. He drained an 18-foot eagle putt on the seventh to jump to minus-7.

Langer polished off a solid front side with a birdie on the ninth. He made the turn with a 3-stroke lead, but that was gone late on the back nine.

The German stumbled to bogeys on 11 and 15, while 14 could have been great or terrible.

"I hit a great putt on 10, but it just moved right. And then on 11, I missed a 4-footer or something, and now I'm hitting flag with my second shot [on 14] and the ball comes off the green, and I thought well things aren't going my way right now," Langer stated on TV.

"You have to take it. The shot was so good it could have been a two, I might have ended up making a five, but I hit a great chip and saved par."

Couples birdied the 16th from four feet out and made it two in a row with a birdie on 17. That gave him a piece of the lead at 6-under.

Couples parred the last to end there, but Langer had three holes to go. After a par on 16, Langer got up and down from just off the green on the par-5 17th for birdie and a 1-stroke lead.

Langer, the 1985 and 1993 Masters champion, parred the last to take the lead into the final round.

Couples got off to a flying start with birdies on one and three. After a string of pars, he poured in three consecutive birdies from the seventh to jump within two of the lead at 5-under.

The 1992 Masters winner faltered to a bogey on the 14th. He got that shot back with his short birdie at 16 and also birdied the next.

"Yesterday was a very tough day, but I had a great round, which gave me a lot of confidence going into today," Couples said. "It was the same kind of day, but maybe not as hard. The last couple of days I've had really good rounds."

NOTES: Langer will go for his 15th Champions Tour win on Sunday...Couples' 64 was the low round of the day...Lane won last year's European Senior Tour Order of Merit.

07/28 14:49:20 ET