Langer cruising, up 8 at Senior Players

Jun 14, 2015 - 12:11 AM Belmont, MA ( - Defending champion Bernhard Langer fired a 4-under 67 in Saturday's third round and he doubled his lead yet again to eight shots at the Senior Players Championship.

Langer, who entered the day with a 4-shot lead, finished 54 holes at 16-under- par 197. The German is a 23-time winner on the Champions Tour. He earned five wins, including two majors, during the 2014 season, but has yet to win in 2015.

"After last year it's been slightly disappointing. It hasn't been a bad year, just not quite what the last few years have been," Langer admitted. "I'm eager to put a W behind my name. I'm not saying we're there yet, still got a lot of golf left, but I'm excited the way I'm playing right now."

The next-closest competitor to Langer is Russ Cochran, who shot an even-par 71 at Belmont Country Club. He is alone in a distant second at 8-under 205.

Senior PGA Championship winner Colin Montgomerie also carded a 67 in the third round and he is tied for third at minus-7 with Scott Verplank (66), Jeff Hart (67) and Guy Boros (69).

It was a stress-free day for Langer, who also held the first-and second-round lead, as his 4-shot lead only grew larger as the day went on.

Langer started his second straight mistake-free round with a 12-foot birdie at the second and poured in his second gain at the par-5 fourth to move to 2- under on the day.

That was it for a while for Langer as he rattled off six consecutive pars from five, including a couple impressive putts to save par.

Still up by four shots, Langer extended his advantage to five with a birdie from about 18 feet at No. 11.

During a stretch of five straight pars from Langer, Cochran made a pair of bogeys, which moved Langer seven clear.

The 57-year-old Langer continued to put his foot on the gas with an up-and- down birdie at the par-5 17th and his lead was up to eight. Langer parred the last to complete another bogey-free round.

"Just not to get ahead of yourself," Langer said when asked what the key is going into Sunday. "There's a lot of golf left. Stay away from big numbers and, like I said, if I can play under par tomorrow, hopefully continue my good play, hit fairways, hit greens and make the odd putt here and there, I should be in good shape."

Cochran, who was Langer's closest chaser, made two birdies on the front nine, but dropped two shots on the back side. He will be in the final pairing Sunday, but well back of the leader.

NOTES: Langer is looking to join Arnold Palmer (1984-85) as the only players to win this championship in back-to-back years ... Langer has not made a bogey since the eighth hole in round one, which is an ongoing streak of 46 holes ... He is seeking his fifth major title on the Champions Tour ... Langer missed tying the 54-hole tournament record by two shots. He shares that mark of 195 with Fred Couples ... Tommy Armour III and Peter Senior both withdrew Saturday.

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