Lovelady tied atop Barbasol leaderboard with help of new mindset
July 21, 2018
By Helen Ross , PGATOUR.COM
Tom Lovelady comments after Round 3 of Barbasol
NICHOLASVILLE, Kentucky – No one told Tom Lovelady he wasn’t fun to be around anymore.
“People are still rooming with me this week,” he said with an easy smile. “Must not be too miserable.”
But even so, Lovelady knew he needed an attitude adjustment. He was letting the bad shots get to him and the missed putts gnaw at him. It was counterproductive, and he knew it.
“I finally said, I'm sick of it,” Lovelady reported. “I don't care what bad breaks I'm going to get, I'm going to live with it because everybody else gets the same. “Really just came from inner belief and motivation.”
His new mindset has paid dividends this week at the Barbasol Championship. Lovelady made four straight birdies starting at the 14th hole on Saturday en route to a 65 that left him 18 under and tied atop the leaderboard heading into the final round.
Lovelady, who will be looking for his first TOUR victory, has plenty of company at the top. He’s tied with Robert Streb, who matched the day’s low round of 63; the resurgent Hunter Mahan, who had a 64, and Troy Merritt, who had a 69 and set the first- and second-round pace.
Lovelady, who played at Alabama with Justin Thomas and Trey Mullinax, is hitting on all cylinders at Keene Trace Golf Club this week. He ranks first in driving distance, second in Strokes Gained: Around the Green and No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Total.
So Lovelady – who turns 25 on Monday -- knows he’s doing something right, and he hopes to keep things on an even keel for the final round.
“Just treat each shot for what it's worth, and if you hit a bad shot just go get up and down,” he said. “I think that that's the mindset that I've had this week. It's just been really good for me. “Past few weeks I've struggled. Just been tired and I've kind of let that get me. I just got fed up with it. Mentally this is one of the better weeks that I've had and it's shown, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Amazing what a little bit of job security can do for a guy. Sam Ryder earned some last week when he tied for second at the John Deere Classic, moving from 148th to 115th in the FedExCup in the process. He came to Kentucky a little more relaxed, as a result, and after Saturday’s 63, his seventh consecutive in the 60s, Ryder has a chance to win his first PGA TOUR event. “It's given me a lot of confidence,” Ryder said after the bogey-free round at Keene Trace. “And also there's a little bit of a monkey off my back in terms of the pressure of trying to keep my job for next year. So it's allowed me to play a little more freely and just kind of trust my game.” Ryder will start the final round at 17 under and one stroke off the lead. He was looking forward to the late tee time, too, after having to play 36 holes on Saturday. “I can feel it in my legs and hips and stuff,” Ryder said. “I'm definitely in need of some rest going into tomorrow. But when you start making a bunch of birdies and you get 7, 8, 9-under, a little bit of adrenaline will carry you through those last few holes.
Unlike half his PGA TOUR brethren here this week, the ones who got caught on the wrong side of the severe weather that short-circuited the second round, Davis Love III got to sleep in on Saturday. At least, that was the plan. But his son, Dru, was among the many who had to come back and play his second round Saturday morning. So the elder Love had other priorities than a little extra shut-eye. “I got up and brought my father-in-law out here and watched Dru tee off,” Love said. “Then I brought my sister-in-law and (wife) Robin out to catch him at the turn.” He had planned to go back and nap but the fitness trailer was calling the 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer. There’s always Sunday, though -- a day when Love, who chipped in from 31 feet on the 18th hole Saturday for a 66, will tee off four shots off the lead and try to become the PGA TOUR’s oldest winner. He’s already the third-oldest thanks to his win in the 2015 Wyndham Championship. The oldest is Sam Snead, who was 52 years, 10 months and 8 days old when he won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open. “I'm just excited to be playing and in the mix,” Love said. “I got in the mix a little bit at Colorado in the Senior Open, so nice to play around the lead a little bit.”
QUOTABLESA lead is -- it's kind of a false word or leading you in the wrong direction because you're going to play somuch golf tomorrow and there are going to be so many fluxes and you're going to need all 18 holes to try to pull away from these guys.Probably a fan's paradise. Everybody is going to have a chance at it. Probably come down to who is hitting them close and making the putts.
Lowest round: Robert Streb, Sam Ryder and Blayne Barber each shot 9-under 63s.
Longest drive: Tom Lovelady had Nos. 1 and 2 in this category. He hit one 371 yards on the 14th hole and 349 on No. 13.
Hardest hole: The ninth hole, a 421-yard par 4, played to an average of 4.096 with nine birdies, 50 pars, 12 bogeys and two double bogeys.
Easiest hole: The sixth hole, a 516-yard par 5, played to an average of 4.178 with three eagles, 54 birdies, 16 pars and just four bogeys.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Tom Lovelady chips-in for Shot of the Day