Bernhard Langer, of Germany, reads the green on the second hole during the third round of the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament, July 1, in Peabody, Mass. Langer leads the Constellation Senior Players Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Langer leads rain-shortened Senior Players Championship

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As Bernhard Langer sank one birdie putt after another, it appeared as if nothing could stop the momentum that thrust him atop the leaderboard in the Constellation Senior Players Championship.

Then the rain came — again.

Langer made five birdies on the back nine Friday to take a two-shot lead over Corey Pavin before the second thunderstorm of the day suspended play late in the second round.

The 59-year-old Langer was 6-under par through 16 holes and 13 under for the tournament. The three-time defending champion had his only bogey of the day on No. 1, a 360-yard par 4.

Langer rebounded with birdies on Nos. 3 and 5, then opened the back nine with four straight birdies. He added another birdie on No. 16 before lightning and thunder forced the final 30 players on the course to scurry for cover.

Pavin was the clubhouse leader after shooting a 68. Brandt Jobe was at 10 under with two holes to play, and Scott McCarron shot a 68 to get to 9 under at the midpoint.

A fierce early afternoon shower caused a delay of 2 hours, 24 minutes. The rain did nothing to ease the humidity and heat on a sweltering day at the Caves Valley Golf Club.

“We went back out there and the wind was blowing a little bit. Then it just died and it became humid and sticky again,” Pavin said. “You just have to deal with it.”

The second stoppage occurred at 5:44 p.m. and lasted for 35 minutes before play was called for good.

The round will be completed Saturday morning. The third round will start later than planned, so the groups will be threesomes off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees.

Play on Friday began with Pavin in a second-place tie with Langer and Steve Flesch, one shot behind Larry Mize.

Pavin wasted no time making his move, sinking birdies on the first five holes. He was still in control until he bogeyed 16 and 18 to fall into second place.

“I made a bad swing on 16. On 18, I was trying to cut if off the tee and I just hit a pull,” he said. “It’s not a big deal. I just throw it away and just back at all the good things I did.”

McCarron carded five birdies on the front nine. Though slowed by successive bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14, he returned from the stoppage to make clutch pars on 17 and 18.

“It was a tough delay, especially come back to probably the two toughest holes out there,” McCarron said.

Mize shot a 76 to fall in a tie for 15th place, nine shots off the pace. After making nine birdies Thursday, Mize staggered through a second round that featured just one birdie and five bogeys.

Flesch had an unspectacular 73, making two bogeys and one birdie. He was at 6 under, one shot behind Ian Woosnam and Scott Dunlap.

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