Arjun Atwal begins the third round of The McGladrey Classic with a one-shot advantage, but he has three former major winners in close pursuit. Here are some players and storylines to follow Saturday as play heats up on the Seaside Course:
• Davis Love III is looking to become the first player to win on the PGA Tour after serving as U.S. Ryder Cup captain since ’93 captain Tom Watson won the 1998 Crowne Plaza Invitational. The 48-year-old Love last won on Tour at the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, but his 12 birdies are tied for the most this week through 36 holes.
• While David Toms has played himself into position through 36 holes, beginning Saturday’s round tied for fourth, he may be well served to assume that today is Sunday. Toms has impressed in the final round this year, and his 69.80 fourth round scoring average ranks 10th on Tour. His third round stroke average, though, is a full 2.5 shots higher at 72.30. The LSU graduate has broken 70 in the third round only once this year, and it remains to be seen how he will get score updates Saturday as his Tigers kick off against Texas A&M within ten minutes of his third round tee time.
• Although Jonas Blixt survived the 36-hole cut by a single shot, he may be poised for a strong round Saturday. Blixt, who last week recorded his first career PGA Tour victory at the Frys.com Open, leads the Tour with a 68.57 third round scoring average. The Swede has shot a 66 in the third round of each of the first two Fall Series events this month.
• One year ago this week, Gavin Coles was winning the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open on the Web.com Tour. Today, the Aussie begins the third round on the Seaside Course at 8 under, two shots off the lead and playing in the penultimate group with Bud Cauley and David Toms. Having missed four consecutive cuts and currently sitting at 179th on the money list, Coles – who celebrated his 44th birthday Friday – could greatly benefit from a high finish this weekend.
• Although he’s hit the green in regulation less than 66% of the time in 25 starts on Tour this year, Chad Campbell leads the field this week in GIR percentage, reaching 34/36 greens in regulation. He had a birdie putt on every hole during his bogey-free 67 in Friday’s second round, and begins Saturday tied for seventh, three shots off the lead.
• After opening with a 1-over 71 Thursday on the heels of four straight missed cuts, “bubble boy” Kevin Chappell appeared to be in dire straits. But Chappell, currently ranked 126th on the money list, rallied Friday with a 4-under 66 to comfortably advance to the weekend. It marked the Californian’s lowest stroke play score since a final-round 65 at the John Deere Classic, and Chappell now has an opportunity over the next two days to move onto the right side of the most famous “bubble” in golf.