Tournament host Davis Love III is one stroke behind leader Arjun Atwal halfway through the McGladrey Classic, a PGA Tour event in Georgia.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Davis Love III might have found an effective tonic for any Ryder Cup hangover — playing golf, and playing it well on a Sea Island course he knows.
In his third straight tournament since his U.S. team lost a big lead and bowed to Europe on the final day at Medinah, Love hit a 6-iron to 3 feet on the 17th hole that put him in the final group going into the weekend at the McGladrey Classic, where he is becoming more than merely a tournament host.
Love was one shot behind Arjun Atwal, who is running out of time to keep his PGA Tour card. Atwal made an adjustment in his putting stroke earlier in the week and watched it pay off in a big way for a 63, his best score of the year.
Atwal, whose two-year exemption from winning in Greensboro, N.C., expires this year, is No. 175 on the money list and has two tournaments left to finish in the top 125. He opened with three consecutive birdies and took the outright lead with a wedge shot that ended up 5 feet from the fifth hole, his 14th hole of the round.
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“I’m in a desperate situation,” Atwal said. “I got no choice — either win or finish in the top two. So I’ve just got to grind it out.”
Atwal was at 10-under 130. Love (66) and Jim Furyk (65) are tied for second place.
Atwal struggled with a bad back early in the year and opened the season by missing the cut in seven straight tournaments. He has chronic problems with his left knee and said he expects to have tests on it at the end of the season.
Furyk hasn’t played since his bogey-bogey finish in the Ryder Cup and is making his final PGA Tour appearance of the year. Furyk rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 14th, converted a two-putt birdie from 100 feet away just off the green and made a third straight birdie on the 16th from about 12 feet.
“I felt a little rusty on the way in,” Furyk said. “I have a lot of confidence in my ball striking right now, but when you don’t play a lot, sometimes it’s the course management, making the good decisions.”
Ex-Washington Huskies player Richard H. Lee (71) was tied for 55th place at 2 under.
Players with scores of 140 and worse missed the cut, a group that included former UW Husky Troy Kelly (70-73 — 143).
• Seattle native Fred Couples pulled out of the AT&T Championship, an event on the 50-and-older Champions Tour that starts Friday in San Antonio. Couples, the defending champion, said he has back problems.
“I hope I feel better and will be able to play in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale (Ariz.) the following week,” Couples said.
• Suzann Pettersen of Norway shot a course-record, 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s HanaBank Championship on the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea.
Karin Sjodin of Sweden opened with a 64.
Pettersen made five birdies in the first six holes on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
“Being three rounds, you want to get off to a hot start, and I can’t complain with today’s round,” she said.