St. simons island, ga.
Three weeks after they were on stage together for the closing ceremony at the Ryder Cup, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk wound up together in a place few people would have imagined — in the final pairing at the McGladrey Classic, both wanting a win for different reasons.
Love made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday for a 4-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Furyk, who also had a 66 by doing most of his work early. He made a 45-foot birdie putt over a slight ridge on the second hole, added three more birdies through six holes, and settled for eight pars at the end.
They were at 13-under 197, two shots clear of Arjun Atwal (69) and D.J. Trahan (66), two players who could avoid a return to Q-school with a big week at Sea Island.
Warren JFK graduate Jason Kokrak, fighting to keep his PGA Tour card for 2013, shot a 66 — the best of his three rounds this weekend — and is tied for 29th entering today’s final round.Kokrak who finished in a tie for second place in the Frys.com Open last week, is at 6-under 204, just three shots out of the top 10.
Love, the 48-year-old tournament host and a Sea Island resident since he was 14, has gone four years without winning. Ryder Cup captains typically are at the end of their careers; the last American to win after being a captain was Tom Watson in 1996.
“It’s nice to be 100 percent focused on my golf,” Love said.
This is the second time this year that Love had a share of the 54-hole lead. He was tied in Memphis and finished two shots behind.
Furyk spoke openly this week about how even a win at the McGladrey Classic couldn’t erase a lot of sour memories this year, particularly his failure to close out wins at the U.S. Open and the Bridgestone Invitational, along with a 1-up lead over Sergio Garcia with two holes to play at the Ryder Cup.
He came to Sea Island out of respect to Love, a longtime friend, and showed up with moderate expectations. Playing relaxed throughout the week, Furyk has gone 38 holes without making a bogey and seems to be a little sharper each day.