Langer threatens history at SentryWorld

STEVENS POINT, WIS. -- Bernhard Langer may be 65, he has history in his sights at the halfway mark of the U.S. Senior Open at SentryWorld

Langer,  World Golf Hall of Famer, carded a 3-under 68 here on Friday at SentryWorld to take a one-shot lead over first-round leader Rod Pampling.

Langer, who turns 66 in less than two months could become the U.S. Senior Open’s oldest champion – by eight years – if he can close out atop the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon. Allen Doyle was 57 years, 11 months, 14 days when he successfully defended his title in 2006.

“Today was a little bit better,” said Langer after his round. “Played pretty solid, and believe it or not, I had two three-putts and a hit a sand wedge from the middle of the fairway into the water hazard [on No. 11], which is painful when you think about that from 100 yards, but that's golf.”

Wisconsin natives Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly are also very much in the mix.

Stricker, bidding for a third consecutive senior major and fifth victory of 2023, followed up a 72 with a 70 to get within three of the lead. Kelly, twice a runner-up in this championship, fired a 70 for a two-day total of 141. The two Madison residents will be paired together on Saturday.

“I'm in a good spot,” said Stricker, who owns four wins and four seconds in 11 PGA Tour Champions starts this year. “It looks like three back for sure. Like I said, there's some tough pins out there today. The wind is up and down. The course has got a lot of teeth to it. Again, I feel okay where I'm at.”

Kelly, battling a nagging left wrist injury, still managed a solid round of three birdies against two bogeys. He planned to ice his wrist Friday night to keep the swelling down along with taking Ibuprofen for the pain.

“It helps having people out giving you that energy,” said Kelly of the fan support. “I hear a lot of great things after I missed [my par putt on No. 7] and going to the next hole. I didn't reward them with a good shot off the tee, but I hit a pretty darn good second one.

“Yeah, I was happy to go par, par after that drive on 8.”

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