PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Bernhard Langer birdied the 18th hole at Pebble Beach to salvage an indifferent back nine and move one shot ahead of Kenny Perry after two rounds of the PURE Insurance Championship, putting the German star in position for his fifth victory this year.
The 60-year-old Langer was 5 under through eight holes before his momentum stalled. The birdie on No. 18 brought him back to even par on the back nine. He shot 67 and stood at 12-under 131 after his opening-round 64 at Poppy Hills.
“I played really solid starting off, hit it close and had a bunch of really good saves, up-and-downs,” Langer said. “It wasn’t that easy. The greens are not that simple to putt on. Hard to make long putts here.”
Langer’s four victories include three majors, and he leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings as he vies for his ninth money title in 10 years and sixth in a row.
Perry, 57, shot 63 at Pebble Beach to equal the tournament course record. The U.S. Senior Open champion is fourth in the Schwab Cup but has earned just over half as much as Langer’s $2.6 million.
“You-know-who’s always there. We’re going to battle tomorrow,” Perry said. “It will be the same as we’ve done for the past four or five years. I’ve got to play great again to beat him.”
Langer was impressed with Perry’s round.
“That’s a heck of a score,” Langer said. “That’s spectacular on these greens.”
Perry eagled the par-5 second hole and shot 30 on the front nine. After a bogey on 10, he closed with four birdies in his final six holes.
“I made everything. I putted fantastic today,” Perry said. “I don’t know why I did, but they all went in today.”
Scott Parel was two shots back after a 66 at Pebble Beach. Jerry Kelly, winner of two of his last three starts, was another shot behind after a 66 at Poppy Hills. The 50-year-old tied a PGA Tour Champions record set by Hale Irwin in 1999 with his 13th straight round in the 60s.
“I hit a lot of close shots,” Kelly said. “I think I missed six within 6 feet, so that leaves a little bit of a bitter taste in my mind.”
Scott McCarron, No. 2 on the money list, followed his opening 63 at Poppy Hills with a 72 at Pebble Beach. He was four shots back.