LAKE ORION, Mich. — Fred Couples joked that someone will have to close with a 60 to catch Bernhard Langer at the U.S. Senior Open.
That might not be low enough.
Langer shot a 6-under 64 on Saturday to move to 10 under for the tournament, putting him ahead of a big-name field by four strokes.
"That's not a huge lead," he insisted. "That can disappear in no time. I'm going to have to get out there and shoot under par. That's my goal.
"If I go 2 under or 3 under, it will be very difficult for anyone to catch me. And if they do, they deserve to win."
The two-time Masters champion opened with three straight birdies and eight in 12 holes at Indianwood, a course with tight and unforgiving fairways and undulating greens.
"He didn't win two Masters by luck," said Corey Pavin, who was in a five-way tie for second place. "He's an exceptionally good player, very methodical."
Langer didn't miss a green in regulation during the third round until the par-3 No. 13, where a double bogey cut his cushion to three shots. He bounced back with a birdie at 15 before giving that stroke back with a bogey at 18.
Pavin, Tom Lehman, Roger Chapman, John Huston and Tom Pernice Jr. were at 6-under 204.
Couples surged up the leaderboard with a 65 after starting the day tied for 25th place. He was part of a pack — along with Fred Funk and Jay Haas — that was five shots back in a tie for seventh at the Champion Tour's fourth of five majors.
What did Couples think it would take to get into contention with Langer in the final round?
"Sixty," he said. "How does that sound? Does that sound pretty good? Not really realistic.
"He's not going to come back. Corey and whoever is going to have to play a remarkable round to win. I'm at least inching closer."
While Langer was in his sensational stretch Saturday, first-round leader Tom Kite and second-round leader Lance Ten Broeck were struggling in the final group.
Kite finished with a 74 to drop into a tie for 17th, nine shots back. Since opening with a U.S. Senior Open nine-hole record 28, Kite is 6 over.
SCOTTISH OPEN: At Inverness, Scotland, Francesco Molinari held off a barrage of challengers at the Scottish Open, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.
The Italian, who held the overnight lead with Alexander Noren, remained consistent in changing weather around the Castle Stuart links to stay in front at 17 under.
After a third straight low-scoring day, Anders Hansen is Molinari's closest challenger after a 65. Hansen upstaged his top-ranked playing partner Luke Donald (68), while Phil Mickelson also carded a 65 and three shots back in a tie with three others.
Noren was among that quartet at 14 under. The Swede, who finished with a 70, kept pace with Molinari until a triple-bogey 8 on No. 12 after losing his ball in bushes off the tee.
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC: At Silvis, Ill., Troy Matteson shot a 5-under 66 to take a three-shot lead into the final round at the John Deere Classic.
Steve Stricker, who also shot a 66, sits in second place at 15 under in his quest for a fourth straight tournament title. Stricker birdied four straight holes beginning at the 14th, but bogeyed the par-4 18th, stubbing a chip shot and missing a 15-footer for par.
Both Matteson and Stricker bogeyed the last hole, setting up their final-round pairing together at TPC Deere Run, where Stricker, a Wisconsin native who was an all-American at Illinois, has become a local favorite by winning the last three years.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson also carded a 66 to climb into contention at 14 under, along with left-hander Brian Harman.