Bernhard looked like a man on a mission, for fourteen holes at least, playing almost flawless golf. Meanwhile race-leading Colin Montgomery looked shaky and very unlike a man ready to get the job done. He and Jeff Maggert, leading contenders for the Schwab Cup heading into the championship, seemed to feed off one another and played miserably.
I realize that there are 54 holes yet to play, and anything can happen in this game, but is there anyone who believes Langer won't seal the deal this week? Checking on Bernhard's record, I note that he's won 98 professional tournaments, including two Masters titles. What I didn't know until today was that he also held the distinction of being the first official world number one in 1986.
Very workmanlike in his approach to the game, Langer may not be particularly flashy; but, at 58 years old, he still looks fit as a fiddle and, in the heat of battle, he's obviously still as hard as a coffin nail. As was obvious in the several post-round interviews, Bernhard is much respected by his peers, who, better than anyone, know just how good, and how tough, he is.
In terms of being mentally tough, here's a man who has not only won two green jackets, he's also managed to overcome the dreaded yips, had the bad luck to be the one to miss a decisive putt at a Ryder Cup, and just came back, if anything, even stronger. With 25 champions tour victories, including five senior Majors, only Lee Trevino and Hale Irwin have been more prolific winners after the age of fifty.
I will be just another fan who will be very happy to see Langer achieve another first, when he lifts the Charles Schwab Cup for the third time. Bernhard knows that there are still 54 holes to play, and he won't be counting his chickens quite yet. I certainly don't want to dismiss the possibility that Colin Montgomery or Jeff Maggert could battle their way back. But, is there anyone betting against Langer at this point? Certainly not I.