Justin Leonard is seeking a third win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
By Don Wade, Special to PGATOUR.COM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Two-time FedEx St. Jude Classic winner Justin Leonard didn’t clinch anything Saturday with a 4-under 66 at TPC Southwind, but he did give himself a chance to play a meaningful round on Sunday.
Leonard, who is now 4-under through three rounds, won here in 2005 and 2008. He took advantage of a windless morning to have what he called a “low-stress” round. Leonard hit 12 of 18 greens (66.7 percent) as he made a forward move from being even after two rounds. He carded four birdies and had an eagle on the par-5 16th hole, but then gave a bit back with a bogey on 17.
“It’s pretty firm,” Leonard said of the greens. “You have to pick your spots carefully.”
Leonard has made 14 of 17 cuts this year, but has only one top-10 finish -- a tie for fourth at the Tampa Bay Championship back in mid-March. He has not finished a tournament under par since late March when he was 3 under at the Shell Houston Open.
He came into the FedEx St. Jude Classic ranked just 76th in the FedExCup standings.
“I still enjoy the process of playing well and working hard,” said Leonard, who turns 41 next week.
His top victories have some age on them now; Leonard won the 1997 British Open and the 1998 PLAYERS Championship. But there are certainly good memories here and Leonard hopes he can draw on those if the leaders fall back a bit. Harris English began the day atop the leaderboard at 10 under and through his first three holes Saturday stretched out to 12 under.
“I’ll just be playing the golf course,” Leonard said of Sunday’s final round. “But if I can get off to a quick start and find myself in contention, then I could pull on the good feelings I’ve here a couple of times. Today, I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could.”