Birdie Blitz Puts Baird And Kirk In Front At Sea Island

by
Reuters
Overnight leader Chris Kirk and veteran journeyman Briny Baird produced late birdie runs to share the third round lead at the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island in Georgia on Saturday.

Birdie Blitz Puts Baird And Kirk In Front At Sea Island

Overnight leader Chris Kirk and veteran journeyman Briny Baird produced late birdie runs to share the third round lead at the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island in Georgia on Saturday.

Playing in the final group the Americans both birdied the final hole to pull out of a logjam of front-runners and post 10-under 200 totals.

Kirk, a former resident of the island, shot a two-under 68 after fighting back from being two-over through 12.

The 28-year-old rolled in three consecutive birdies on 13-15 and then drained his clutch putt on the last in his quest for a second PGA Tour win.

Baird gave away two early birdies with back-to-back bogeys at nine and 10 before finishing with a flourish to card a round of 67.

The 41-year-old has made 364 previous starts and earned $12,699,237 without a win, the most money of any non-winner. He will have a great chance to break the drought after birdies on the final three holes.

"I'm most looking forward to picking up my first PGA Tour win," Baird said confidently post-round.

"It's that simple. It's not all or nothing. I'm not going to say that, but obviously I have put together some good rounds this week and the thing I am most inspired about this week is outside of the first day, the last two days I don't feel like I played fantastic by any means.

"I scored fantastic and anytime you are tied for the lead after three rounds that's fantastic."

Sitting in a tie for third just a shot behind are Americans Kevin Stadler and Brian Gay along with Australian John Senden.

Stadler, another journeyman with 235 starts on the tour without a win, carved out a five-under 65 in a round featuring seven birdies.

The son of former Masters champion Craig Stadler, he delivered four birdies in a five-hole stretch between the 13th and 17th holes.

"I hit it pretty nice, I didn't make too many mistakes, I hit a lot of fairways and it was a pretty simple round of golf with a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and knocked a couple of putts in," Stadler said

"I'm certainly a lot more comfortable now. It took me quite a while to kind of feel I belonged here and to just settle in. But I've been out here quite a while now and haven't had too many chances to win so certainly looking forward to tomorrow, it should be fun."

Four-time winner Gay's round of 66 featured four birdies in the opening nine holes while Senden poured in a birdie on the 18th to finish with a 68 and a big chance to add to his lone tour win from 2006.

Brendon Todd (67) and Scott Brown (68) share sixth at eight-under while big names Webb Simpson (71) and Matt Kuchar (68) are within striking distance in a group at six-under par.

"It was nice to get a few birdies coming in. It's pretty amazing to do three straight rounds of 68 but looks like I might need to go a lot deeper than that tomorrow to catch these guys," world number eight Kuchar said.