ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The final round of the McGladrey Classic is setting up for a dramatic finish, with 10 golfers within four strokes of the lead. Savvy veterans and longtime friends Jim Furyk and Davis Love III share the lead and will have a chance to end their season on a high note. Here are 5 Things you need to know heading into the tournament’s final round.
1. Seeking redemption: Jim Furyk birdied three of his first six holes and then strung together eight consecutive pars to shoot 4-under 66 at Sea Island’s Seaside Course. Will he be able to close out his 17th career win this time? Stop me if you’ve heard this story before, but Furyk let the U.S. Open, WGC Bridgestone Invitational and his singles match at the Ryder Cup slip away in the closing holes.
“I found ways, quite frankly, to lose tournaments,” he conceded.
But Furyk said that he already has put those failures in the past.
“I’ve kicked myself a hundred times already,” he said. “And I’ve gotten over it. That’s one thing I’ve always been able to do really well. I can get by it. I can forget it. I can put it behind me and move on.”
2. Can the host win his own event? Tiger Woods has made a habit of winning his own events, so why can’t Davis Love III follow suit? Of all the Tour pros who have made this picturesque corner of southeast Georgia home, Love is the one true local. As a teenager, Love spent a summer cutting the crabgrass out of the greens at the Seaside Course with a pocket knife. After a 4-under 66 on Saturday, Love is in position to notch his first victory since the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Classic. The locals surely will be rooting for a storybook ending.
3. Movers & Shakers: D.J. Trahan and Arjun Atwal will be the first to tell you that they have struggled through rough years. But each can salvage his season with a strong final round. Trahan entered the week No. 157 on the PGA Tour money list, but after his third consecutive round in the 60s he is T-3 and projected to improve to No. 123. Trahan chalked it up to getting back to basics with the help of his father, teaching pro Dan Trahan, who walked all 18 holes Saturday in his son’s gallery.
Atwal missed the cut in 10 of his first 11 starts this season. He started the week ranked No. 191 on the money list. Birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 on Saturday lifted him into a tie with Trahan at 11 under. A T-3 finish would put him in position to finish inside the top 150 on the money list and guarantee him limited status next season and make him exempt into the final stage of Q-School. Neither Atwal nor Trahan would have to worry about any of that if one of them were to hoist the winner’s trophy on Sunday.
4. The defending champ lives: Ben Crane made the cut on the number. But after an 8-under 62 that ties a tournament record, Crane climbed to T-6 and will enter the final round four shots behind the leaders. Crane credited his improved play to an adjustment that he made to his putting alignment Friday night and Saturday morning.
“I was just making putts from the other side of the green, so it was fun,” Crane said.
5. What about Bud? Last year, Bud Cauley wrapped up his Tour card for this season without going to Q-School with a T-15 finish at the McGladrey Classic. Cauley, who has had a solid rookie campaign, enters the final round trailing the co-leaders by three strokes. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if Cauley were to break through with his first Tour victory not far up the road from where he grew up in Jacksonville.