SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Michael Allen held onto the lead Saturday in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and playing partner Bernhard Langer pulled within a stroke to easily remain in position to take the points title.
Allen shot a 1-under 69, making six birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in breezy conditions on Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course. He had a 12-under 198 total.
The 56-year-old Scottsdale resident birdied the par-3 11th to open a six-stroke lead, then played the next four holes in 4 over. He rebounded with a birdie on the par-3 17th and parred the par-5 18th.
“I didn’t really know what my lead was,” Allen said. “It probably would have been a good idea to look at a board at that point, but I was just trying to do what I’ve been doing all week, which is just try and hit good shots, make birdies and pars. I don’t think my strategy would have changed any.”
Langer birdied the final two holes for a 68. The 58-year-old German star is competing with Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert for the Charles Schwab Cup points title and a $1 million annuity.
Langer began the week third in the standings, 66 points behind Colin Montgomerie and 27 behind Jeff Maggert, in a bid to win the title for the second straight year and record third time overall.
“Obviously, I’m in a unique situation this week where I’m sort of keeping one eye on what’s happening there with Monty and Maggert and I’m trying to win the tournament at the same time,” Langer said.
With players receiving a point for every $500 earned in the $2.5 million tournament, Langer started $33,000 behind Montgomerie and $13,500 behind Maggert. With their current positions, Langer would earn $254,000, Montgomerie $40,500, and Maggert $34,000. Langer also is in position to top the money list.
Montgomerie had a 71 and was tied for 18th in the 30-man field at 1 under. Maggert was tied for 21st at even par after a 71. The runner-up in the points competition will receive a $500,000 annuity, and the third-place finisher will get a $300,000 annuity.
“Right now it’s looking good and it’s still a shootout for the title as well,” Langer said. “Michael played phenomenal on the front and wheels came off a little bit in the middle there, early back nine, and then he pulled himself together again. It’s still anybody’s ball game at this point, the tournament.”
Allen made a double bogey on the par-4 12th after driving into the desert.
“I just think let up for a shot there and it kind of, it really got me. Is that what happened carrying on? Who really knows.I felt like I overcame it all right and I didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, boy, I’m uptight and not doing well.’ I kind of just tried to shrug it off and kind of keep moving forward.”
He bogeyed the par-3 13th, then topped a long-iron approach into the water on the par-4 15th and holed a 10-footer to escape with bogey.
“I was a little out of sorts and probably just didn’t go through the routine quite properly,” Allen said. “I don’t know because it was a perfect number. … I guess it happens once in a while in golf.”
He made an 18-foot birdie putt on 17, and missed a birdie chance on 18 when he pulled his 8-footer to the right.
“I feel good,” Allen said. “I felt like I just lost my swing a little bit there and maybe really my focus more than my swing.”
Allen began the day with a two-stroke lead after opening with rounds of 65 and 64. He won the last of his seven victories on the 50-and-over tour in October 2014.
Mark O’Meara, Canada’s Stephen Ames and Billy Andrade were tied for third at 8 under. O’Meara shot 66, Ames 67, and Andrade 70. Ames was the last player to get into the field, jumping from 31st to 30th on the money list with a ninth-place tie last week at Newport Beach.