Bridgend, Wales (SportsNetwork.com) - Bernhard Langer carded his third straight round in the 60s on Saturday and he extended his lead to a record- tying eight strokes after three rounds of the Senior Open Championship.
Langer shot 3-under 68 in round three to end 54 holes at 14-under-par 199. His 8-shot lead matched Jack Nicklaus' tour record for largest 54-hole lead. Nicklaus led by eight after three rounds at the 1991 Senior PGA Championship.
Langer, the 2010 champion and last year's runner-up, will go for his fourth major championship on the Champions Tour on Sunday.
Rick Gibson fired a 5-under 66 to jump into second place at minus-6. Bob Tway is one stroke further back at 5-under 208 after a third-round 68 at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
Three-time champion Tom Watson shot 69 to move into a share of fourth at minus-4. He was joined there by Chris Williams (71) and Scott Dunlap, who matched the low round of the week with his 6-under 65.
Langer led by seven entering the third round and did little to cost himself that big margin. He got on the board with a birdie at the second.
The German birdied the fourth and 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 sixth. He has birdied both of those holes all three days.
Around the turn, Langer tripped to just his third bogey of the week at the 10th to dip to 13-under. He was eight clear at that point, and remained comfortably ahead with seven pars in a row from the 11th.
"I got off to a good start, and got 3-under after six, I think, and then, you know, maybe played a little more safe a couple of holes and hit one shot fat which wasn't great, but made bogey there, but the rest, again, the long putting was very good," Langer stated.
Langer hit his drive on the par-5 18th over 380 yards and had just a short iron into the par-5. He dropped his approach inside 15 feet and 2-putted for birdie to end eight ahead of Gibson.
"I hit a couple of good trick shots towards the end, and drove the ball very well, hit some amazing straight drives and long drives. I mean the one on 18 I can't believe how far I went, but that's how it is right now," said Langer. "It's very bouncy and firm, and I was fortunate not to end up in a bunker there on 18."
Gibson, whose last tour start was at the 2012 Senior Open Championship, stumbled to a bogey at the first, but he came right back with a birdie on the second. He parred three in a row from the third, then dropped in a birdie chance on No. 6.
The Canadian converted back-to-back birdie chances from the eighth en route to making the turn at minus-4.
Gibson birdied the 12th, then ran off five pars in a row. He closed his round with his second birdie in three days at the 18th to briefly move within seven of Langer, but Langer also birdied the last to lead by eight.
"Obviously, Langer is playing extremely well and the rest of us are packed in behind him. But links golf has its reputation for a reason, and I understand we're going to get some wind tomorrow. At least that's what people keep telling me," Gibson said. "We've only had light breezes so far, and Bernhard is the only one who's figured it out. So with some wind tomorrow it's going to be very interesting."
Montgomerie, the Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open champion, birdied three of five holes from the fourth, and he was seven back of Langer at that point. However, the Scotsman double-bogeyed the 10th before making bogey at 11 and 18 to tumble 11 behind Langer.
NOTES: Noboru Sugai led the 2002 Senior Open Championship by six strokes after three rounds, and that had stood as the largest 54-hole lead in championship history ... Bob Charles won this event by seven in 1989 and that is the largest winning margin ... Langer's 14-under score matched the lowest third- round score in championship history - Carl Mason was 14-under in 2003 ... Langer has led 10 senior majors after three rounds, but is just 3-7 in those 10 ... Three of the four 54-hole leaders in majors this season have won the title ... Greg Turner had a hole-in-one on the 15th for the 11th ace since this championship became a major in 2003.