Notes Youthful Floyd in Contention at Laurel Valley


LIGONIER, Pa. -- Raymond Floyd supposedly was too old to win the U.S. Open at 43 in 1986, but he did. Because of an aching back and sporadic tournament play, he's also supposed to be too old at 62 to win the Senior PGA.
He hasn't yet, but he thinks he has a chance.
``I think if I can get in it and get myself close enough, yeah, there's a chance,'' he said Saturday.
Floyd hasn't finished higher than a 21st-place tie in six Champions Tour events this year, yet is two shots off the Senior PGA lead midway through the rain-delayed third round. The third round finishes up Sunday morning after being halted Saturday, with the fourth round to follow immediately afterward.
``It would be pretty special (to win),'' said Floyd, whose last Champions Tour victory came in 2000. ``I feel 31 today.''
That's a lot younger than the 22-time PGA Tour winner feels most days, due to a persistent back problem that doesn't allow him to practice. All he does is play.
``I don't play golf for a living any more,'' Floyd said. ``I play because I enjoy being in the ropes, but I don't practice. I don't work on my game. Those things hurt ... (but) I can't. My back won't allow it.''
Jock Hutchinson also was 62 when he won the Senior PGA in 1947, but that was long before the current-day senior tour started.
This Senior PGA is special for The Golf Channel's Dave Marr III, whose father won his only major title -- the 1965 PGA Championship -- at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of that victory, the younger Marr scattered some of his father's ashes on Laurel Valley's 11th, 17th and 18th holes -- key holes that helped the elder Marr outlast Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper and win the PGA.
Previously, Marr's ashes also were placed on some top U.S. courses and two English courses -- Walton Heath, where Marr played in the Ryder Cup, and Royal Birkdale, where Marr was the captain of the 1981 Ryder Cup team that defeated Europe 18 1/2 -9 1/2 . Among the U.S. courses were Augusta, Pebble Beach and Shinnecock, plus Memorial Park in Houston, where Marr learned to play golf.
``We didn't exactly get permission from some of these places,'' Dave Marr III said.
There won't be any more ashes scatter -- the younger Marr said the last were spread at Laurel Valley.
The elder Marr, an ABC golf analyst after ending his playing career, died of stomach cancer at age 63 on Oct, 5, 1997. He was the PGA player of the year in 1965.
A hard rain fell Saturday from the time the early starters teed off just after 9 a.m. until play was stopped for 1 hour, 45 minutes at 11:41 a.m. The unfavorable playing conditions certainly affected some golfers' games.
Bob Charles, who shot a 2-under 70 Friday, was 8 over for his round through eight holes before play was stopped. He had three consecutive bogeys from Nos. 3-4 then took a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 eight en route to his third-round 82.
Charles, at 69 one of the oldest in the field, has rounds of 80 and 82 around Friday's where-did-that-come-from 70, which saw him miss shooting his age by just one stroke.
Others also struggled in the rain, which was so heavy at times than some greens -- especially No. 6 -- finally became too waterlogged to play. Play resumed later in the day, only to be stopped for the second and final time late in the afternoon.
Curtis Strange, near the top of the leaderboard after the first round but now near the bottom, had two double bogeys and three bogeys in his first nine holes and finished with a 77. Dave Stockton had four bogeys and a double bogey in his first eight holes en route to his 77.
``You just got to try not to get going bad and lose any ground,'' said Darrell Kestner, a club pro from Glen Cove, N.Y., who had a 71. ``If you put up a decent round, you might pass some good players.''
About a half-dozen Pitt football players are working as security guards. ... Those who finished the third round Saturday before rain suspended play will tee off starting at 6:55 a.m. Sunday. The 33 still on the course will start teeing off at 8:15 a.m., then go immediately into the fourth round, with all 33 off the tee for the final round by 10:55 a.m. ... Jerry Pate, who is tied with Mike Reid and Dana Quigley for the lead, hasn't won a tournament since the 1982 Players Championship -- a span of 23 years, 2 months. Reid's last win came in the 1988 World Series of Golf, a span of 16 years, 9 months.
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