Chris Kirk and Briny Baird each made birdie on the 18th hole to separate themselves from the pack in the McGladrey Classic on Saturday.
But not by much.
Kirk holed a 25-foot putt for a 2-under 68. Baird followed him with an 8-foot birdie putt for a 67. They were tied for the lead, a shot ahead of Kevin Stadler, Brian Gay and John Senden. Twelve players were separated by four shots going into the final round at Sea Island, a group that includes Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson, the former U.S. Open champion who won last month in Las Vegas.
Baird is playing his 365th event on the U.S. PGA Tour without ever winning. The top eight players on the leaderboard have combined for seven career wins, and that includes Gay’s four wins.
Baird at least has given himself a shot by being runner-up five times, though he has no idea what it would take to win except for having a score that is ”one less than the next best guy.”
”If I knew what to do tomorrow, shoot, I’d have won plenty of times,” Baird said. ”I’ve always said Tiger Woods wasn’t 80 PGA Tour wins physically better than me. It’s just not possible to be 80 wins better physically, so obviously there’s some mental in there – more than some. It’s mostly mental, I would say.”
Kirk and Baird were at 10-under 200.
They were one shot ahead of Gay (66), Kevin Stadler (65) and John Senden (68).
Stadler hasn’t won in 235 tour events, and he wasn’t even planning to play Sea Island until realizing he had nothing better to do this week and that after next week in Mexico, the tour goes into a short winter’s nap until January.
Brendon Todd is winless going into his third full season on tour. He had a 67 and was in the group two shots behind. Jason Kokrak has never won. He had a 69 and was three shots behind. The winner on Sunday gets an exemption to the Masters. None of the top eight are exempt to Augusta National.