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Recovering Love sizzles on front nine, shoots 70

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Davis Love III’s biggest opponent these days may be his physical therapist because it certainly wasn’t TPC Sawgrass on Saturday, at least not for nine holes.

Love, the only two-time champion in The Players field, is making his first start on the PGA Tour since neck surgery in February. He birdied three of first five holes and turned in 32.

Even with closing bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 the hard part of his day remained, an hour-and-a-half session with his therapist. It’s not the pain of therapy, however, it’s the ongoing give and take as he eases his way back into Tour life.

When asked about his upcoming schedule – a busy stretch that currently includes a 36-hole British Open qualifying event in Dallas on May 20, the Colonial and Memorial tournaments and another 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Open on June 3 – Love said it’s a work in progress.

“I’m negotiating with my therapist right now,” he smiled.

Love said his neck has fully healed but it will take time to regain the strength in his left arm and he still has tingling in his left index finger that he said will probably never go away.

“I’m not there yet,” he said following his third-round 70 that left him at 4 under par and tied for 28th when play was suspended by an approaching storm. “I couldn’t play next week. I just wouldn’t be strong enough.”