ST. LOUIS — Bernhard Langer holed out for eagle from 76 yards on the opening hole and shot his age for the second time this year with a 6-under 65 for a share of the lead with Padraig Harrington in the Ascension Charity Classic.
Langer turned 65 two weeks ago. He shot a 64 in the Chubb Classic earlier in the year.
Harrington, the three-time major champion and most recent Ryder Cup captain for Europe, played bogey-free at Norwood Hills.
Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal and Steven Alker were in the group at 66.
Harrington has two wins and four runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour Champions in his first full year on the 50-and-older circuit. He’s trying to get closer to Alker in the Charles Schwab Cup, though Alker isn’t having many bad weeks.
Langer has won the Schwab Cup a record six times, and even at his age, the two-time Masters champion is not slowing. He won the Chubb Classic early in the year for his 43rd career victory, two shy of the record held by Hale Irwin.
In a town obsessed with Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals trying to reach 700 career home runs, Langer is looking to move closer to a milestone he only thinks about when asked.
“It’s fun to be in that position to have a chance to maybe catch Hale Irwin. It’s not going to be easy,” Langer said. “But 10 years ago I didn’t think it was easy and five years ago I didn’t think it was easy. And it’s still not easy. But it was great to win 43 and hopefully there will be a couple more left in the tank.”
Harrington is still getting used to this environment. He came from behind in all three of his majors, and he feels he’s at his best when he has to rally. But he’s among the longest and the best on the senior circuit, and the Irishman says he’s still learning how to cope with trying to win from ahead.
“I always found I was a much better chaser than somebody out in front. And the one thing about the Champions Tour now is I’ve had a few leads and I have to learn, and I am learning,” he said. “Hard to believe 51 years of age and I’m getting better mentally.”
Steve Stricker, coming off a win two weeks ago in Michigan, and John Daly were among those at 67.
Former British Open champion Justin Leonard, who retired early to work television, made his PGA Tour Champions debut with a 69.