LAKE ORION, Mich. — Fred Couples joked that someone will have to close with 60 today to catch Bernhard Langer at the U.S. Senior Open.
That might not be low enough.
Langer shot 6-under 64 Saturday and was 10-under 200 for the tournament, four strokes ahead of a big-name field.
"That's not a huge lead," Langer insisted. "That can disappear in no time. I'm going to have to get out there and shoot under par. That's my goal.
"If I go 2 under or 3 under, it will be very difficult for anyone to catch me. And if they do, they deserve to win."
The two-time Masters champion opened with three straight birdies and eight in 12 holes at Indianwood, a course with tight and unforgiving fairways and undulating greens.
"He didn't win two Masters by luck," said Corey Pavin, in a five-way tie for second after shooting 68. "He's an exceptionally good player, very methodical."
Langer didn't miss a green in regulation in the third round until the par-3 13th, where double bogey cut his cushion to three shots. He bounced back with birdie at 15 before finishing with bogey at 18.
Pavin, Tom Lehman, Roger Chapman, John Huston and Tom Pernice were at 6-under 204.
And what did Couples, five back after shooting 65 at the Champions Tour's fourth of five majors, think it would take to contend today? "Sixty," he said. "How does that sound? Does that sound pretty good? Not really realistic."
First-round leader Tom Kite and second-round leader Lance Ten Broeck struggled in the final group. Kite (74) drop into a tie for 17th, nine back. Since opening with a U.S. Senior Open nine-hole record 28, Kite is 6 over. Ten Broeck, a full-time caddie for Tim Herron and an occasional player, shot 72 with three birdies and five bogeys. He was alone in 11th place, six shots back, after starting the round with a one-shot lead over Kite.
PGA: Troy Matteson enjoys having the lead going into the final round of a tournament. Steve Stricker doesn't mind having to come from behind.
Each has their chance in today's final round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Matteson has a three-stroke lead over Stricker going into the last 18 holes at TPC Deere Run.
Both Matteson, a two-time PGA Tour winner, and Stricker, chasing his fourth straight title at the Deere, shot 5-under 66. Matteson was at 18-under 195.
"I've been in the position Troy's in, and it's a difficult position because you have the expectation that you should go out and win," Stricker said.
Matteson doesn't mind.
"You always want to be ahead rather than behind," he said. "Every stroke you can gain is good. I think you still need to be aggressive."
GATOR WINS PUBLIC LINKS: T.J. Vogel, a senior at Florida, earned a spot in the 2013 Masters by winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in Midway, Utah, routing Kevin Aylwin 12-and-10 in the 36-hole final. Vogel was 10 up after the morning session and cruised from there.
EUROPEAN: Francesco Molinari led by two at the Scottish Open after bogey-free 5-under 67 at Inverness. Phil Mickelson (65) joined three others trailing the leader by three shots.