Langham 54-Hole Leader in Utah

By Sports NetworkSeptember 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourSANDY, Utah -- Playing for his first Nationwide Tour title since 2004, there was something else on Franklin Langham's mind for much of the day.
Wearing a red shirt in support of his alma mater, the University of Georgia, Langham was regularly checking the score of Saturday's football game against South Carolina.
'I wish I could control [the score], because I know they're a little behind,' Langham said. 'Hopefully they'll pull it out in the fourth quarter.'
His Bulldogs were trailing 16-9 when Langham walked off the 18th green at the Utah Energy Solutions Championship on Saturday, and they would lose the game.
But Langham was in good position to win after shooting a 5-under 66 in the third round to extend his lead to two shots at 17-under 196. He owed much of his success Saturday to his putting.
During a stretch on the back nine, he had six consecutive one-putt holes.
'You start seeing them going in and you expect more to go in,' said Langham, who leads the field in putting average this week.
Richard Johnson had a 4-under 67 on and remained in second place at 15- under 198. Jeremy Anderson (66) and Craig Lile (68) were another shot further back at 199.
Langham had seven birdies and two bogeys for his 66. He was just 1-under over his first 11 holes before getting hot with the putter.
He chipped within inches from the fringe to set up birdie at the 12th, then made a long birdie putt over a ridge in the 13th green. Langham made it three birdies in a row when he drained a 12-foot putt at the 14th.
After making a routine par at the 15th, Langham knocked his tee shot into the trees at the 16th. But he punched out and was able to save par.
'I went a little brain dead and hit a bad tee shot,' he said. 'But I kept my cool and managed to get it up-and-down from 110 yards and kept going.'
His last birdie came on a 10-foot putt at the 17th, his sixth consecutive hole with just one putt.
If he can hang on Sunday, Langham would claim his third victory on the Nationwide Tour. The first came at the 1993 Permian Basin Open, when the tour was known as the Nike Tour, and the other came 11 years later at the Rheem Classic.
Of course, there were 12 players within five shots of his lead. In the last two Nationwide Tour events, the winner has come from seen shots back to win.
To see that doesn't happen again, Langham was going to draw on past experience.
'You always try to think back to those times that you have won,' said Langham. 'All I can remember is you just keep doing the same thing. You just keep the same swing thought, the same thoughts over your putter and keep plugging away.'
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