Daily Wrap-up: Round 3, The McGladrey Classic

October 20, 2012
Staff and wire reports

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Jim Furyk was ready to close the book on a year filled with bitter moments. He wasn't expecting one more chapter.


Despite playing limited golf in the three weeks following yet another disappointment in the Ryder Cup, Furyk put together three solid days in the McGladrey Classic and ran off four early birdies Saturday that gave him a 4-under 66 and a share of the lead with Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.

Love has played every week since the Ryder Cup, and the 48-year-old tournament host was at his best on a gorgeous afternoon at Sea Island. With birdies on both the par 5s and a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, he matched Furyk with a 66 and joined him in the lead at 13-under 197.

This is the last official event of the year for Furyk, who had said earlier in the week that even a win at the McGladrey Classic would not erase memories of his failure to hold leads at the U.S. Open in June, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August, and a 1-up lead over Sergio Garcia with two holes to play in the Ryder Cup.

"I'm tougher on myself -- I promise -- than anyone else is," Furyk said. "So I've kicked myself 100 times already. And I've gotten over it. I can put it behind me and move. There's nothing I can do to change it. And nothing I do in the future is going to change it. ... I'm excited for this season to be over, only for the fact that I can turn the page and we can start talking about the future."

Suddenly, there's one more day left in his season.

Furyk only came up to Sea Island out of respect to Love, a longtime friend. His expectations were moderate at best. Turns out his game is still pretty sharp.

He rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt over a ridge on the second hole and made three more birdies in the opening six holes, finishing with a hard 7-iron to a tucked pin that settled 10 feet away on the par-3 sixth.

Furyk failed to birdie the par 5s, and he had to settle for eight straight pars at the end that allowed more players into contention for the final round.

Love started slowly, badly misjudging a putt from short of the green that ran some 10 feet by the cup on the fourth hole. He answered with an 18-foot birdie putt, and kept chipping away until catching Furyk on the final hole.

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.

Ryder Cup captains typically are chosen toward the end of their careers, and Love last won a tournament four years ago at Disney. He dealt with a neck injury at the start of the year, and split duties when he was healthy promoting the Ryder Cup. The last American to win after being Ryder Cup captain was Tom Watson in 1996.

D.J. Trahan projects to move inside the top 125 on the money list. Will he keep up this performance to earn his 2013 TOUR card? Projections

On the opening day at Medinah, Love had 45 minutes to turn in Saturday's Ryder Cup pairings, and 30 minutes to decide whether to play in Las Vegas the following week. He met both deadlines, and has been playing every week since Europe rallied to win the cup.

"I can separate a lot of things, separate the Ryder Cup with its own experience," Love said. "People were surprised I played the three weeks after, but I'd had some time off. I was ready to play. I haven't played enough tournaments, so it's nice to be back in the swing of things."

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, like most golfers, has spent a career coping with failure. He figures that to win one tournament a year for 25 years was a sure ticket to greatness, yet that also would mean losing some two dozen times a year.

That's why he doesn't see Sunday as another chance to fail -- especially after a year like this -- but another chance to win. It might have helped that his expectations were not as high as they usually are. He has been relaxed all week, and sees no reason to change that for the final round.

"If I looked at tomorrow as another chance to be judged in case I failed ... you know, it's been a tough year, but I could never look at it that way," Furyk said. "It's an opportunity for me to go out and win a golf tournament, and I'm not trying to make up for the rest of the year. What happened, happened. It's over with. I can't change it. I'm never going to feel good about what happened, but it's done with.

Shot of the Day

Will Claxton holes a 60-foot birdie putt.

"It's opportunity tomorrow to win a golf tournament. That's the way I'm going to look at it."

The opportunity is not theirs alone.

Remember, a year ago Ben Crane rallied from five shots behind Sunday to win in a playoff over Webb Simpson, and 18 players were separated by five shots going into the final round, where the weather again is expected to be mild and sunny.

That group includes Bud Cauley, who was three shots behind after a 68. Crane, who worried about making the cut when he walked off the course Friday, wound up making it on the number and then tied the course record with a 62 to get into the group four shots behind, along with Charles Howell III. Vijay Singh, Chad Campbell and David Toms were in the group at 8-under 202.

The McGladrey Classic features only two of the top 25 players in the world ranking -- Zach Johnson (16) and Furyk (23) -- yet it could not have offered a more compelling leaderboard with the two guys at the top -- Love and Furyk, a captain and one of his picks, two guys who have combined for 36 wins and two majors.

So who could use the win more between those two?

Love mentioned how much it would soothe the sting for Furyk's tough year, "but I'd love to keep him from it."

Seaside Course at Sea Island GC: Round 3
The par-5 15th hole was the easiest with a Saturday scoring average of 4.375.
The par-4 4th hole was the toughest with a Saturday scoring average of 4.250.
About the leaders: Davis Love III and Jim Furyk
• Jim Furyk, a 16-time PGA TOUR winner, moved into a share of the lead with Davis Love III through 54 holes of The McGladrey Classic with a third-round 4-under 66. After entering the day tied for second with Love III and one stroke behind 36-hole leader Arjun Atwal, he and Love III sit two strokes ahead of Atwal and D.J. Trahan with 18 holes left to play in the next-to-last event of the season.
• Furyk has just one bogey this week, at the par-5 seventh hole on Thursday (his 16th hole of the day.
• Furyk is making his 24th start of the season, with runner-up finishes at the Transitions Championship and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He owns seven top 10s and is currently No. 19 on the money list.
• Furyk is making his second start at The McGladrey Classic, posting four rounds in the 60s to finish T11 in 2011.
• This marks the 22nd time Furyk has entered the final round on TOUR with at least a share of the lead (including 90-hole events). In the previous 21 events, he has won 10 times, most recently at the 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (note: one of the 21 included the 54-hole 1998 Buick Classic, which he won in a playoff).
• Tournament host and "Team McGladrey" member Davis Love III shares the lead with Jim Furyk after rounds of 65-66-66. Since the event's 2010 inception, Love has finished T33 in 2010 and missed the cut in 2011.
• A win on Sunday would move Love III into a tie for 29th place on the TOUR's all-time wins list with 21 victories. He would be tied with Willie Macfarlane, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Wood and James Barnes.
• Love has previously held at least a share of the 54-hole lead 24 times. Of those, he has converted nine into victory, most recently at the 2006 Wyndham Championship.
• Love earned Lifetime Membership status with his 20th career PGA TOUR win at the 2008 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
• The last two weeks following the Ryder Cup, Love III finished T66 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and T35 at last week's Frys.com Open.
• Love III is making his 19th start of the season this week, having collected two top-10 finishes (T3/FedEx St. Jude Classic, T10/Wyndham Championship). If Love III plays the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in three weeks -- an event he won in 2008, his year-long total of 20 starts will match the lowest number of his career (2001), dating to 1986.

"We're both very competitive," Love said. "That's why I picked him for the Ryder Cup team. He competes hard every time he goes out there and he gives you everything he's got. I think it would mean a lot to both of us. It would be a pretty close tie."