SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Michael Allen picked up the pace to take a two-stroke lead over playing partner Bernhard Langer in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Upset after being warned for slow play around the turn, Allen played the final six holes in 5 under for a 6-under 64 and an 11-under 129 total on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course.
"Obviously, I've been timed a lot. I don't really worry about it," Allen said. "I guess it was just kind of a little bit the way it was handled because they said it was me, I was taking two minutes on every shot and I took it wrong. It's kind of something that I still obviously have to deal with a little bit better. I know there's guys just trying to do their job, there's no issue there. I just tried to really walk away from it and just go play."
Allen had three birdies and an eagle in his closing run. The 56-year-old Scottsdale resident chipped in on the par-3 13th, two-putted the par-5 15th, made a 10-footer on the par-3 17th, and holed a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th.
"It was just a little bit lucky," Allen said about the final putt. "I knew it wouldn't break quite as much, at least I thought it wouldn't, but it was really hard to see with the sun in my eyes. I was just trying to get the right speed because when the sun's in your eyes like that, you can sometimes hit it a little hard and kind of lose it a little bit. I was happy it was really close, but it went in."
He won the last of his seven victories on the 50-and-over tour in October 2014.
Langer followed his opening 63 with a 68, leaving the 58-year-old German star in position to win the season points title and a $1 million annuity. He got up-and-down for birdie on the 18th after his approach hit a tree and bounced into the rough.
"Just things didn't go my way," Langer said. "Good thing the last putt kind of lipped in."
Langer began the week third in the Charles Schwab Cup points race, 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. With players receiving a point for every $500 earned in the $2.5 million tournament, Langer was $33,000 behind Montgomerie and $13,500 behind Maggert.
Montgomerie had a 68 and was tied for 18th in the 30-man field at 2 under. Maggert was tied for 22nd at 1 under after a 67. The runner-up in the points competition will receive a $500,000 annuity, and the third-place finisher will get a $300,000 annuity.
Langer birdied three of the first four holes, three-putted for bogey on the seventh and birdied the ninth. The two-time Masters champion bogeyed the 12th after failing to get up-and-down from the greenside rough, dropped a shot when he missed an 6-foot par putt on 17, and made the birdie on 18.
"I think 68 is most of the time a great score, just not necessarily today for me when I had that start, 3 under after four. I really had it going," Langer said. "Three-putted seven, that was a terrible mistake. Just hit the first one too hard and then missed the 4-, 5-footer coming back."
Langer successfully defended his Senior Players title in June in Massachusetts for his fifth senior major title and won last month in San Antonio for his 25th victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Kenny Perry (66) and Billy Andrade (67) were tied for third at 8 under.
"It's a ball-hitter's golf course," Perry said. "You've got to be very accurate off the tee. You've got to be very precise with your irons. The greens this year, to me, are the best I've seen them. They're super fast and I love really fast greens."
Jeff Sluman (64) and Olin Browne (67) were 7 under.