Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2011
The golf roundup …
CONOVER ó Bob Tway decided to try the Champions Tour because he still enjoyed playing competitive golf. What disappeared in the shift from the PGA Tour was the intense pressure to win.
Two years later, the 1986 PGA Championship winner is about to test his new, relaxed persona.
Tway, the overnight leader, fired a 5-under 67 Saturday to move to 14 under and maintain a one-shot lead over Tommy Armour III in the Greater Hickory Classic. One more low round on a hot, humid weekend at Rock Barn and Tway could capture his first victory on the 50-and-over circuit.
ěOf course, you should be a little nervous. Thatís why you do it,î the 52-year-old Tway said. ěBut I may not be quite the same as I was on the other tour. Iíd still like to win tournaments, no doubt after that.î
Heíll have plenty of competition.
Armourís recent resurgence continued with four birdies over the final six holes for a 67. James Mason, looking to become the 12th Monday qualifier to win on the circuit, shot 65 and was two shots back along with Chip Beck (65), Mark Wiebe (68) and Mark OíMeara (67).
Nick Price, who overcame a double-bogey, Jeff Sluman and Mike Goodes sat three strokes behind and 29 golfers were within six shots of the lead.
ěThe guys are lighting it up,î said OíMeara, playing the event for the first time.
The intense heat ó the temperature soared into the 90s Saturday ó has tamed Rock Barn. Tway acknowledged how the courseís grounds crew has had to ěbaby the greensî with water while the fairways remained firm. Thatís allowed golfers to target the flagstick on nearly every hole, with balls usually stopping on impact.
Tom Kite was the first to show just how low you could go. He had three eagles in five holes and posted a 28 before making the turn. Thoughts of a possible 59 faded with a bogey on his 10th hole and he sat six shots back.
After needing only 23 putts in a round of 63 on Friday, Tway wasnít so hot with the putter a day later, where making par felt almost like you were going backward. He still managed seven birdies, including on 18 for the second straight day.
ěItís a birdie-fest,î Tway said. ěYouíve got to just keep going.î
Thatís been Masonís attitude all year.
The Georgia native, whose lone victory came as a qualifier in his first season on the 50-and-over tour in 2002, lost his full-time playing privileges heading into the year. Then he turned 60 in January and started wondering about his future.
ěI said as soon as I go downhill with my playing ability then Iíll certainly give it up,î Mason said. ěI made a commitment this year that I was going to go to every qualifier I could go to and then evaluate it after the year.î
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Robert Karlsson shot a 2-under 68 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard through three rounds in the St. Jude Classic.
Karlsson looked ready to run away from the field, leading by five strokes on the back nine, but the Swede closed with his only bogeys of the day, dropping to 11 under and one stroke ahead of Harrison Frazar.
Frazar shot a 64. John Merrick (67) was third at 8 under.
The 41-year-old Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour, is trying to become the seventh first-time winner on the PGA Tour this year and the first in Memphis since Dicky Pride in 1994.