Originally created 05/14/00

Love, Huston share lead

IRVING, Texas -- No one is hitting the ball as well as Davis Love III in the Byron Nelson Classic. Too bad he had no idea how far it was going Saturday.

With a chance to run away from the field, Love struggled to hit greens in wind that came out of the opposite direction and had to scramble for a 1-over 71 that gave him a share of the lead with John Huston.

In the process, he brought several other players back into the picture -- perhaps even Tiger Woods and David Duval, who will be paired alone together in the final round for the first time in their career.

"I think it will be a good race," Love said.

Huston had a 3-under 67 and had sole possession of the lead at one point thanks to a shot that defined Love's round -- an 8-iron from 170 yards went about 190, and Love was lucky to make bogey.

Love came back with a birdie from the bunker on the par-5 16th to get to 10-under 200.

Jesper Parnevik had a 68 and was three strokes back at 203, while Phil Mickelson also had a 68 and was at 204.

"I've put myself in position," Huston said. "If I keep playing the way I have been, I should have a decent chance."

Love hasn't won in over two years. One difficult day isn't about to shake his confidence about the way he's been striking the ball, but it was easy to lose hope Saturday when gusts came out of the north and changed the nature of the course.

For example, Parnevik hit a wedge into the 490-yard third hole earlier in the week. On Saturday, he had to blast a 5-wood to reach the green.

At least it got there.

Love had only two decent birdie chances on the front nine. Most of the time, his approach shots looked great -- until they landed.

He was over the green on No. 6, about 50 feet short of the pin on No. 8. He left it short in the bunker on No. 13, and wasn't sure what to think from the 14th fairway. With a 170 yards to the pin, he selected an 8-iron.

"At least I can't knock this over the green," he told his caddie.


The ball sailed over the green, behind a cluster of flowers, and his chip back up the slope went over the green and almost down the bank into the water.

Huston holed an 8-footer for birdie, a two-shot swing that gave him the lead.

He wasted a chance on the 16th, however, when Huston's approach out of the rough caused the gallery behind the green to scatter like birds. He had to settle for par on the easiest hole at Las Colinas, and Love caught him at 10-under with a birdie.

"There was nothing I could do about Davis. I had to stick to my game plan," said Huston, whose last victory was the Disney Classic in 1998. "I'm very satisfied."

Love was satisfied only with the way he was hitting the ball. Too many times, he fumbled through his bag looking for the right club, hitting it the way he wanted but rarely getting the results he expected.

"You start second-guessing," Love said. "That many in a row, I get a little jumpy. If a couple of balls go close to the hole, rather than over the greens or short of the greens, I could have had a pretty good day."

And he could have had a pretty good lead.

Instead, he'll be in an old-fashioned Texas shootout, trying to end a streak of 46 tournaments without a victory.

"Phil and Jesper are right where they wanted to be -- three or four back, which is well within reach," Love said. "And John did what he wanted to do -- catch up."

Three Texans -- Mark Brooks, Paul Stankowski and Bob Estes -- were at 205.

Woods and Duval, the top two players in the world ranking, were at 207.

"Each day, I've felt better," said Woods, who birdied two of the last three holes for his second straight 3-under 67. "I hate to say it, but it feels like I'm getting my competitive edge back."

Duval, who had a 68, and Woods were in a threesome in the final round of the Nissan Open, although neither made a run. That might be the case again Sunday, depending on Love and Huston, and the Texas wind that made the TPC at Las Colinas play entirely different than the first two rounds.

"The course played a lot tougher in this wind," Parnevik said.

Still, he liked his chances a lot better at the end of a blustery day.

"It's nice to have only two guys in front of you," he said. "When it's like that, anybody can win."

DIVOTS: Davis Love III printed a "45" on the back of his hat as a tribute to Adam Petty, the NASCAR driver who was killed in a crash Friday in New Hampshire. Love went to college in North Carolina and knows several members of the Petty family ... Hank Kuehne, the former U.S. Amateur champion who failed to even get his card for the Buy.com Tour, had a bogey-free round of 64 despite missing a half-dozen putts inside 12 feet. ... Love has missed only one fairway each of the past two days. ... Stankowski eagle on 554-yard 16th with a 350-yard drive -- slightly longer than Woods' drive -- and a 9-iron into the green. "I really didn't care if I made eagle," he said. "I'm just glad I hit it by Tiger. That was fun."


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