Love III shot his third consecutive 2-under 68 on Saturday to tie Nick O’Hern and John Merrick atop the leaderboard at the windy St. Jude Classic. Asked what his first PGA Tour win since 2008 would mean, the 48-year-old Love had a quick answer.
“Be a lot of Ryder Cup points,” he said.
With a win, Love is projected to jump from 63 into the top 30 in the Ryder Cup standings.
Love had three birdies and only one bogey Saturday to go to 6-under 204, the highest 54-hole lead on tour this year. O’Hern had 67, and Merrick shot 69.
Love, who has 20 career PGA wins, said obviously there’s a lot of pressure and he wants to win. He has only two wins since winning four times in 2003.
“Is it a big huge deal in my career that I have to win this week? No. But when you get up there at the top … the old feeling kicks in,” Love said.
Rory McIlroy, who will try to defend his U.S. Open title next week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, had a one-stroke lead when he teed off. He shot 2-over 72 in a round that featured six bogeys and four birdies to drop in a tie at 5-under.
Aiken native Kevin Kisner shot 70 and joined McIlroy and Dustin Johnson (67) among a group of six players who are a shot back.
LPGA TOUR: In Pittsford, N.Y., Eun-Hee Ji posted 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Karrie Webb after the third round of the LPGA Championship.
Ji was 4-under at Locust Hill. Webb had 68.
Defending champion Yani Tseng had her best round of the three days, finishing with 74 after rounds of 76 and 75.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Birmingham, Ala., defending champ Tom Lehman shot 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Regions Tradition to go to 10-under 206 at Shoal Creek.
Peter Senior, a playoff loser to Lehman last year, and Jeff Sluman were tied for second.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Bro, Sweden, Lee Westwood won the Nordea Masters for the third time for his 22nd European Tour title, closing with 3-under 69 for a five-stroke victory. The third-ranked Westwood finished at 19-under 269 at Bro Hof Slott.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Leon, Mexico, Aiken’s Matt Hendrix shot 5-under 67 and is one shot off the lead in the Mexico Open.
Hendrix is at 11-under 205 at El Bosque Country Club, a stroke behind Lee Williams, who had 68.
CURTIS CUP: In Nairn, Scotland, Britain and Ireland moved within a point of the United States in the Curtis Cup, taking 2½ of three points in the afternoon fourball matches. The U.S. leads
6½-5½ entering today’s eight singles matches.