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Jiminez leads power trio into final round

Wine lover will settle for champagne if he wins

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DULUTH, Ga. — Fun-loving Miguel Angel Jimenez might turn the Champions Tour into his personal cigar-and-wine club. Ever-serious Bernhard Langer keeps churning out sub-par rounds. Bad back and all, Fred Couples is thriving in the wind and cold rain.

It makes for an enticing last group in today’s final round of the Greater Gwinnett Championship.

Jimenez, continuing his impressive tour debut, shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday and leads by one stroke after two days at TPC Sugarloaf.

Langer and Couples each had a 68 in the second round. Langer is one stroke back of Jimenez and Couples is two back, setting up today’s all-star final group.

"That’s about as good a pairing as you’re going to get," Couples said. "I’m thrilled about that, to have a shot at winning."

Added Langer: "It should be an exciting shootout... Whoever is going to win tomorrow is going to play some good golf."

Jimenez, Langer and Couples carried over their momentum after strong finishes last week in the Masters. Jimenez was fourth, Langer tied for eighth and Couples tied for 20th in Augusta.

"When you come in from a major like the Masters and you are playing well there, you are like in tune, you know?" Jimenez said.

Jimenez began the day with a three-stroke lead following his tournament-record 65 on Friday. After the round he said he couldn’t wait for "a nice, warm shower, a nice fat cigar and a glass of (wine)."

Langer was tied with Jimenez for the lead at 8 under entering Saturday’s final hole. Jimenez had a birdie on No. 18 while Langer settled for par and his second straight 68.

Today will mark the third straight round Langer and Jimenez have played in the same group.

Before the tournament, Langer predicted Jimenez will "leave his mark" on the Champions Tour. That opinion hasn’t changed.

"He’s very much the same, he’s very steady and very methodical and really doesn’t have too much of a weakness," Langer said. "Drives the ball well, hits some good irons and putts it very well."

Jimenez is trying to become the second straight player to win in his Champions Tour debut. Jeff Maggert won the tour’s last event in Saucier, Miss., in March.

— The Associated Press

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