SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Gil Morgan had his 23rd straight round of par or better, shooting a 4-under 68 Saturday to maintain a one-stoke lead over Hale Irwin and Dave Barr at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
Morgan was at 11-under 133, and Irwin and Barr matched the
leader's 68 to move to 134 heading into the final round at The Club
at Savannah Harbor, a 6,997-yard island layout in the middle of the
Morgan, also seeking his second win of the season, fell two
strokes behind Stadler after nine holes. But the steady Morgan,
playing in a threesome with Irwin and Barr, kept grinding.
"I just kept plugging away," Morgan said. "I didn't play as
well as I'd like on the front side. I felt like I didn't get the
ball as close to the hole as I'd like. I'd like a few more birdie
chances in the final round."
Morgan moved into the lead at 11 under with a 17-foot birdie
putt at the 16th. He failed to increase his lead when a 12-foot
birdie attempt at No. 18 curled just below the hole.
"Still, being in the lead has to be a plus at this time,"
Irwin, with almost the same line as Morgan, made a 9-footer for
birdie at the 18th, leaving him where he started: tied with Barr,
one stroke behind Morgan.
Irwin's biggest mistake was a double-bogey at the sixth, a hole
players have complained about all week because the tee boxes have
been moved back about 40 yards, leaving second shots of about 190
yards to a small green.
His trouble began with a tee shot into some nasty rough.
"Instead of taking it out, I tried to hit a miracle shot -- and
didn't," Irwin said. "I was frankly lucky to make 6 on that hole.
You try to erase that, but sometimes you can't."
Barr, starting the round tied with Irwin at 6 under, had the
only bogey-free round among the leaders.
"All in all, we're all just chasing the doctor (Morgan) out
there," Barr said. "We'll see what he does. There are times when
Gil is good. But, there are times when he gets away with some
errant shots, too."
Stadler, starting two strokes off the pace at 5 under, birdied
five of his first eight holes and looked as if he might run away
from the pack. His start included birdies on Nos. 6 and
8. Stadler was 10 under at the turn, but suddenly lost his putting
touch. He missed birdie attempts inside 10 feet on three of the
first four holes on the back side.
"We watched Craig at No. 11," said Barr, who played in the
threesome behind Stadler, Koch and Leonard Thompson. "We noticed
from his body language that he was missing some putts. He's pretty
easy to read if you've been around him."
Stadler managed a birdie at No. 14, but gave it right back with
bogey at the par-3 15th.
He left his second shot on the collar at No. 18 and ran his putt
5 feet past the cup. Stadler missed his next putt and watched with
disappointment as the ball rolled below the hole and dropped him
two off the pace.
The team of Bob Charles and Stewart Ginn won the Raphael
Division team title by one stroke over the teams of Frank Beard and
Jimmy Powell and Mike Hill and Lee Trevino. Charles and Ginn were
at 18-under 126 in the two-day, better-ball competition. The
Legends of Golf had been strictly a team competition until 2002.
Players in the team competition play for unofficial money now.
Divots Morgan isn't the only player with an impressive streak of par or better rounds. Stadler now has 17 straight, and Tom Purtzer's 67 pushed his consecutive streak to 14. Twenty-six
players broke par Saturday. ... Koch is competing in the individual
competition this year after winning the Raphael team division last
year with Roger Maltbie. ... Don Pooley's 66 was the low round of
the day. He was at 137.