Love likes his chances of surg­ing to win at 53

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL -

Davis Love III thinks his ex­pe­ri­ence might give him an edge as he tries to be­come the PGA Tour’s old­est win­ner at age 53. First, he must sur­pass sev­eral oth­ers, in­clud­ing a rookie try­ing to be­come the first wire-to-wire win­ner in the Green­brier Clas­sic.

Se­bas­tian Munoz shot a 2-un­der-par 68 on Satur­day in White Sul­phur Springs, W.Va., to main­tain a two-stroke lead over Robert Streb af­ter the third round. The 24-year-old Colom­bian was at 14un­der 196 at Old White TPC. Streb shot a 65.

Love was tied with two oth­ers at 10 un­der af­ter a 68, with four play­ers ahead of him. The twotime Ry­der Cup cap­tain who will en­ter the World Golf Hall of Fame in Septem­ber likes his chances Sun­day.

“Un­der the pres­sure, I know how to han­dle things,” Love said. “I’ve seen some guys this week kind of go up and down and make some rookie mis­takes, in­clud­ing my­self. I’m go­ing to make mis­takes, too, but hope­fully the ex­pe­ri­ence will pay off.”

At No. 221 in the FedEx Cup stand­ings, Love wants to make the sea­son-end­ing play­offs and is among those try­ing to qual­ify for the Bri­tish Open in two weeks. The lead­ing four play­ers not al­ready ex­empt from the top 12 fin­ish­ers will earn spots. Rus­sell Hen­ley is the only player in the top 10 who al­ready has qual­i­fied.

Sam Snead won the last of his eight ti­tles at Greens­boro in 1965 at 52 years 10 months 8 days. Love will try to break the mark at the for­mer play­ground of Snead, who was the long­time head pro and pro emer­i­tus at the Green­brier re­sort.

“I don’t think much about age,” Love said. “I think that I want to go out and com­pete. There’s a rea­son why I keep hav­ing surgery, com­ing back, do­ing the re­hab and try­ing to play. There’s a lot to play for, not just for this week but for the rest of the sea­son. I’m go­ing to stay af­ter it.”

Munoz wel­comes the chal­lenge, es­pe­cially from Love.

“That would be awesome if he wins,” Munoz said. “He has to beat me and all the other guys. We’ll just have to wait and see what hap­pens.”

EURO­PEAN TOUR: Jon Rahm shot a second straight 5un­der 67 at the Ir­ish Open and moved into a share of the lead with Daniel Im in the third round in Port­stew­art, North­ern Ire­land.

On a day of good scor­ing over the links at Port­stew­art Golf Club, the 11th-ranked Rahm moved to 17 un­der par over­all af­ter mak­ing four con­sec­u­tive birdies from No. 11 and par­ring his way home.

Im, who was tied for the lead with Ben­jamin He­bert af­ter the first two rounds, birdied five of his open­ing 14 holes and scram­bled su­perbly at the end to shoot a 68 and stay along­side Rahm. He­bert is a stroke be­hind af­ter shoot­ing 69.

Rahm, one of golf’s hottest tal­ents, tied for 10th at the French Open last week in the Spa­niard’s first ap­pear­ance on the Euro­pean Tour and looks in good shape to col­lect his second vic­tory of 2017, af­ter the Farm­ers In­surance Open at Tor­rey Pines on the PGA Tour in Jan­uary.

Hav­ing turned pro­fes­sional only a lit­tle over a year ago, Rahm also fin­ished third and second in his first two World Golf Cham­pi­onship events.

“I’ve never led go­ing into the fi­nal round, so I am a lit­tle in­ex­pe­ri­enced in that sense,” said Rahm, who was per­suaded to play the event by tour­na­ment host Rory McIl­roy. “But I know what I did at Tor­rey Pines, both good and bad. Hope­fully I won’t need two ea­gles in the last five holes again to win to­mor­row.”

LPGA TOUR: Kather­ine Kirk shot a 7-un­der 65 to open a four-stroke lead in the Thorn­berry Creek LPGA Clas­sic and move into po­si­tion to chal­lenge the tour’s 72-hole record.

Com­ing off a ca­reer-best 63 on Fri­day, the 35-year-old Aus­tralian reached 20-un­der 196 in the first year event at Thorn­berry Creek, the Oneida Na­tion-owned re­sort in Oneida, Wis.

“I’ve been play­ing pretty well lately, trend­ing at least in the right di­rec­tion,” Kirk said. “I like this golf course. It suits my eye.”

The LPGA Tour record for 72 holes is 27 un­der, set by An­nika Soren­stam in the 2001 Stan­dard Reg­is­ter Ping in Phoenix and matched by Sei Young Kim last year in the Founders Cup, also in Phoenix.

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