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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Guess Who's Leading the Champions Tour Event?

When the week started, all the talk was about Gary Nicklaus teeing up as a pro for the first time since 2003, and about Retief Goosen making his debut as a Tour member, and about Fred Couples finally being healthy.

But headed into the final round of the Oasis Championship, all the talk is about him. Is that any surprise?

Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer's pursuit of Hale Irwin's Champions Tour record of 45 wins is almost as big as Tiger's pursuit of Jack's major record. With 38 wins so far, Langer is only seven wins from tying Irwin, eight from taking his record entirely. But no one has ever won that many events after their 60th birthday.

Well, Langer is 61 and on the brink of win #39. And all he did was eagle the 18th on Saturday to take the final round lead.

Langer lives only ten minutes from the course and expects the wind to be up today. He was the betting favorite when the week started... but he's always the betting favorite these days, isn't he?

There are 13 players within four strokes of Langer, and we all know that nothing's guaranteed in golf. Nevertheless, if Langer manages to close out the Oasis today and take the first full-field event of the Champions Tour season, he'll have made a statement right out of the gate. (As if his T3 at Hualalai didn't get anybody's attention!)

With all apologies to the rest of the field, we all know who the talk of the Tour is this week. And I have to wonder... if he succeeds today, what other stories might Bernhard tell in 2019?

Talk may be cheap, but I'm not betting against him today.

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