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August 20 2011

11:18 PM

Mallinger has extra motivation

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There was a point on Tuesday when John Mallinger  thought about withdrawing from the Wyndham Championship and flying to San Diego.

His father, Joe, was in a hospital there with fluid in his lungs. The elder Mallinger would hear nothing of it, though, and he told his son to stay and compete.

"So I feel like I'm kind of playing for him," Mallinger said.

And playing well, too. Mallinger fired his second straight 65 on Saturday at Sedgefield Country Club and will start the final round at 12 under, three strokes off the lead. He'll play in the penultimate group on Sunday with Carl Pettersson as he tries to win for the first time on TOUR.

And the best news of all? Joe Mallinger is getting better every day. Imagine what a tonic a victory would be for him.

Mallinger has a good track record at Sedgefield, too, after tying for third at the Wyndham Championship. Granted, he hasn't had much success in 2011 with just fives cuts made in 13 starts but all that could change on Sunday.

"It was obviously a good day," Mallinger said. "I came back after I a bad swing on 14, I came back with three birdies in a row. I finally got the putter working this week. I feel like I've been playing well for two, three months now and finally made some putts fall. It's good."

Mallinger needs some more good days, too. He started the week a distant 212th in the FedExCup. He's 217th on the money list, as well, as he tries to regain his exempt status for the 2012 campaign.
 
So Sunday could be a big one.    

"Obviously it's important," Mallinger said. "They're all important.  I kind of take it one shot at a time. I'm so far back I kind of have nothing to lose. All these guys are fighting to get in The Playoffs.  I'm playing one hole at a time and see where I end up."

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