Love III, Couch share lead in Greensboro

Published 11:33 pm Saturday, October 7, 2006

Davis Love III shot a 4-under 68 in rainy, cool conditions Saturday on the course he redesigned to gain a share of the lead after the third round of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.

Chris Couch, who won his first PGA Tour title in New Orleans in April, had a 69 to match Love at 10-under 206 on the Forest Oaks Country Club course. Chris Smith (69), Steve Flesch (69) and John Senden (71) were a stroke back.

Love, who was in charge of changing and lengthening the layout in 2003 to 7,333 yards, had not used the knowledge to his advantage. He twice missed the cut and withdrew in the three tournaments held since the changes.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

But Love, left off the U.S. Ryder Cup team, birdied the first two holes and the 18th Saturday to put himself into contention for his first PGA Tour win since 2003. Love, though, didn’t anticipate the weather would make the course play so long.

The temperature was in the 80s during the first round Thursday, when 68 players broke 70. But on Friday, the rain and wind moved in, the temperature never got out of the 50s and only 15 players broke 70.

The poor weather continued Saturday, with off-and-on showers, gusty wind and a raw 54 degrees most of the day, keeping a good chunk of the crowd away. The average score was 71.95 and only 11 players broke 70.

Senden, an Australian, was about the only player who seemed oblivious to the weather. He wore a short-sleeved shirt while almost every other player wore a jacket.

Anticipating the poor conditions, PGA Tour officials moved up the tees on several holes, including 16 and 18, but the course still played long. Lucas Glover, who shot a 66 to top a group at 8 under, used a 5-iron for his second shot into 18 where he had used a sand wedge in the past. Others needed fairway woods to hit their second shots on par 4s.

Love used a 5-wood for his second shot on the par-4 14th, but his ball-striking helped give him a chance to break into the top 30 on the money list and qualify for the year-end Tour Championship.

The greens, with two days of rain, slowed down. Smith made a 45-foot birdie putt on the 11th to move to 11-under. He bogeyed the 12th and 17th.

Second-round leader Nick Watney faded early. A three-putt for double bogey on the sixth hole quickly dropped him three shots off the lead. He finished with a 74 for a 7- under total.

Daniel Chopra, who just made the cut and was in the first twosome to tee off at 8 a.m. Saturday, shot a 66 and was at 8 under. For a while Chopra was tied for the lead as he played in front of a sparse early morning crowd.

Glover completed his round of 66 a short time later and also moved to 8 under, joined by Brett Quigley (68), Joe Durant (70), Jason Bohn (70), Ryan Moore (71) and Eric Axley (71).

Tim Clark, the only player in the top 20 of the world rankings in the tournament, was 7 under after a 69.