Langer, Lonnie Nielsen (68) and Brad Bryant (68) had 9-under 135 totals on The Woodlands Country Club course. Denis Watson (66) was a stroke back, and first-round leader Andy Bean (72) and Dan Forsman (68) were 7 under.
Langer won last year at Augusta Pines.
This year I havent looked at the leaderboard once, the German star said. Once youve been around as long as me, you know you can lose when you have a big lead the last day. Ive had six holes to go and been up four and lost. And Ive won tournaments when I was seven behind.
Sixteen players were within three shots of the lead.
I guess when its bunched up like this, it forces you to be a little aggressive, Langer said. The greens here are in great shape and I love fast greens. It challenges you. You cant expect to win playing defensively.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Fred Funk (66) and money leader Jay Haas (72) were 6 under along with Curtis Strange (67), Tom Kite (68), Larry Mize (68), Nick Price (68), Gary Koch (68), Dave Stockton (69), David Eger (70) and Sandy Lyle (71).
In the 2005 event, Bryant had a two-shot lead after the first round here in 2005 and finished fourth that year.
Its always good to be in the lead, Bryant said. As long as youre one of (the leaders), its a lot of fun.
It should be a lot of fun being in the hunt tomorrow. But theyre both good friends. It could be tough emotionally playing with those two because I like both guys so much.
Nielsen had four birdies in his bogey-free round.
I think all of us would rather have the lead by ourselves, Nielsen said. Whatever lead you have is just one more shot in the bank going into the final round. This should be a real shootout.
Bryant had six birdies, but bogeyed Nos. 3 and 6 in an uneven front nine.
I havent putted the ball well yet, Bryant said. Im hoping my putter picks up tomorrow. Ive had a lot of short birdie putts. Its easier to get it close on the front nine than it is on the back nine.
Hal Sutton, playing in his first Champions Tour event, was 3 under after a 70.