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Golf | SA

Bernhard Langer © Gallo Images

Experienced Langer leading the way



German Bernhard Langer says his domination of the Gary Player Country Club comes down to experience.

While the world's elite were struggling to conquer the course in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Langer, the 55-year-old leader of the Champions Challenge, was proving the most impressive golfer after two rounds of the tournament.

The German's nine-under-par tally gave him a four-shot lead over Jay Haas in the concurrent tournament for senior golfers, but Langer was five shots better off than the NGC leader, Scotsman Paul Lawrie, on Friday afternoon.

"Experience has a lot to do with it," Langer said.

"Probably nobody has played this course as much as me – it's my 16th tournament here.

"I played well, just hitting fairways and greens, but it's important to hit the ball in the right spot here."

While Langer, Haas and defending seniors champion Mark Calcavecchia all enjoyed sub-par rounds on the first two days, the NGC regular pros generally struggled, with no one really conquering the course.

The result was a bunched leaderboard with first-round leaders Bill Haas, the son of Jay, and Nicolas Colsaerts slipping back down the field after two rounds.

Jay Haas admitted he was surprised that the seniors were playing the better golf on the same course at the same time, their only allowance being that their tees had been moved forward.

"I'm surprised the big names are not doing better. We're probably driving the ball where they're driving it, then they probably take one club less from there.

"But the thing about Bernhard is that he does not make many mental errors. He doesn't give strokes away.

"Having forward tees is definitely an advantage on a couple of holes and nobody in our tournament gets close to the distance of those 12 golfers in the main event, but the situation is a little unusual."

Langer, typically, was not allowing himself to get carried away, even though the Champions Challenge entered its final round on Saturday.

"Four strokes sounds like a lot, but there is still a lot of golf to be played and this course can grab you anywhere.

"Every hole can get you, so I still have to play a solid final round of golf.

"If I keep swinging and rolling the ball, then I should be okay."

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