ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — 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 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.
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.
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