© St. Petersburg Times, published February 9, 2003
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Davis Love won't need an unbelievable comeback to win this Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
This time he needs just a solid closing round after shooting 5-under 67 Saturday for a two-stroke lead over Mike Weir (67), Tom Lehman (70) and Rod Pampling (70) in the PGA Tour event.
Two years ago Love erased a seven-stroke final-round deficit to win at Pebble Beach, but he hasn't won a tournament since. He vividly remembers his final round at Pebble Beach in 2001, in which he played the first seven holes 8 under and passed Phil Mickelson.
"This is a lot better," said Love, whose second 67 moved him to 10-under 206 after three rounds. "You don't have to go out and shoot a course record."
Six players held at least a share of the lead in the third round, but Love's steady play at Spyglass Hill allowed him to move ahead.
But the past three Pro-Ams were won with comebacks. Matt Gogel erased a four-stroke deficit to Pat Perez last season, and Tiger Woods rallied from seven down on the final seven holes in 2000.
Given the beautiful weather and the fast conditions, most players think a comeback will be more difficult this year.
"Under these conditions, it's so hard to hit the ball close every time," Love said. "Every shot is a trick shot."
Lehman, who has won once since 1996, has plenty of motivation.
"I wasn't anywhere near the lead once last year, so it's nice to have a chance again," he said.
Second-round leader Jim Furyk was four back after 73. He and partner Lynn Swann were disqualified from the team event for signing an incorrect scorecard. Furyk and Swann were 17 under after three rounds, making the cut and trailing the four leading groups by six. Furyk, a native Pennsylvanian who has Steelers season tickets, was thrilled to play with Swann, Pittsburgh's Hall of Fame receiver. The disqualification didn't knock Furyk out of the pro portion of the tournament.
Phillip Price had three eagles over seven holes but withdrew with a back injury. He eagled the fourth, ninth and 10th at Poppy Hills.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CLASSIC: Gil Morgan birdied the final three holes to shoot 4-under 68 and take a one-stroke lead at Key Biscayne. Morgan was 6 under heading into today's final round of the first full-field event on the Champions Tour, formerly the Senior PGA Tour. Rodger Davis was 5 under after shooting 2-under 70 at Crandon Park Golf Course. First-round leader Bobby Wadkins (74) was in a group two back.
ANZ CHAMPIONSHIP: England's Paul Casey eagled the fifth hole and finished with 21 points to take a six-point lead into the final round of the European PGA Tour event in Sydney, Australia. Under the modified Stableford system, players receive five points for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or higher. Casey pushed his three-day points total to 39. Stuart Appleby was second with 33. Second-round co-leaders Nathan Green, Brendan Jones, Nick O'Hern and Terry Price fell back.
HAWAII PEARL OPEN: Michelle Wie, 13, made the cut for the final round with 1-over 73 to finish two rounds at 3-over 147 in Aiea. Wie was 12 strokes behind leader Greg Meyer, a Japanese tour player who was at 9-under 135. Playing from the championship tees, Wie is the only female golfer and the youngest in one of the premier tournaments in the state. The course, Pearl Country Club, is where Wie failed to qualify last month for the PGA Tour's Sony Open.