<
>

Love keeps his cool for share of lead at Chrysler

10/7/2006 - Golf Davis Love III Chris Couch + more

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- He redesigned the course, but
Davis Love III had little success at Forest Oaks Country Club, missing the cut
twice and withdrawing once since he made the changes three years
ago.

Love changed his luck Saturday, shooting a 4-under 68 in rainy,
cool conditions to gain a share of the lead after the third round
of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.

"When you hit that golf ball it doesn't know who designed the
course or how much information you have," said Love, who was born
in Charlotte and attended North Carolina. "It should make it more
fun to play, which it does. I love looking at the greens and
looking at what we did and what we changed, but I don't think it's
any advantage."

Chris Couch, who won his first PGA Tour title in New Orleans in
April, had a 69 to match Love at 10-under 206. 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, didn't anticipate the rainy, windy
conditions would make the course play so long. Golfers routinely
needed to hit woods on their second shots into par 4s.

"We anticipate the average guy hitting woods into the greens,
but not the tour players," Love said. "These are extreme
conditions. When I'm hitting a 5-wood into a par 4 after I hit a
wedge there in the pro-am, you can't really design around that kind
of stuff."

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.

"I give myself a lot of chances, just unfortunately I haven't
pulled it off enough in the past few years," Love said.

He'll be paired in the final group Sunday with Couch, who at 33
broke through with his first win at the Zurich Classic.

"The wind was pumping out there in the afternoon with an
annoying drizzle," Couch said. "Hitting every fairway today
helped and I made a lot of 4- or 5-footers."

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 everyone else wore a jacket.

"I've been out here long enough to pack right. I'm one of the
few guys that didn't have to go out and buy something," Love said.
"I know everybody's been in the mall."

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.

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.

"I take great pride in my good rounds when the conditions are
tough," Chopra said. "Days like today, it really takes quality
shots all the time."

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.

Divots
Chopra was the first player to try to find gloves
Saturday. "I went into the pro shop and I asked him if they sell
gloves -- mittens. They went into storage and got them," Chopra
said. ... Smith got a spot in the field through a sponsor
exemption. ... There have been 15 playoffs in the 67-year history
of the tournament, the last in 1998 when Trevor Dodds beat
Scott Verplank.