Davis Love III won't need an unbelievable comeback to win this Pebble Beach (Calif.) National Pro-Am -- not if he can excel as the front-runner.
Love shot a 5-under-par 67 on the tough Spyglass Hill course yesterday, taking a two-stroke lead over Mike Weir, Tom Lehman and Rod Pampling into the final round.
Two years ago, Love erased a seven-stroke Sunday deficit to win at Pebble Beach -- but he hasn't won a tournament since. Injuries kept him off his once-dominant form, and he dealt with mental stress from five top-five finishes without a victory last season.
He vividly remembers his final round at Pebble Beach in 2001, when he went 8 under on the first seven holes and streaked past Phil Mickelson -- but with a lead, better health and a clear head, he hopes he won't need to repeat himself.
"This is a lot better," said Love, who shot his second straight 67 for a 10-under 206 after three rounds. "You don't have to go out and shoot a course record. [Two years ago] I went out thinking I needed to birdie every hole. Today, I just got on a roll and kept it on a roll."
Six players held the lead for part of the third round, but Love's steady play at Spyglass -- away from the celebrity-studded field crowding Pebble Beach Golf Links -- allowed him to climb ahead. Weir matched Love's 67 with a brilliant front nine, and Lehman and Pampling both remained steady.
The last three tournaments were won with dramatic comebacks. Matt Gogel erased a four-stroke deficit to Pat Perez last season. Tiger Woods, who skipped this season's tournament, rallied from seven strokes down on the final seven holes in 2000.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Gil Morgan birdied the final three holes to shoot a 4-under 68 and take a one-stroke lead at the Royal Caribbean Classic in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Morgan is 6 under heading into today's final round of the first full-field event on the Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior PGA Tour.
Rodger Davis is 5 under after shooting a 2-under 70 at Crandon Park Golf Course.
First-round leader Bobby Wadkins is two shots back along with Hubert Green (68), Tom Purtzer (69) and Dave Barr (70).
* HAWAII: Thirteen-year-old Michelle Wie made the cut for the final round of the Hawaii Pearl Open, shooting a 1-over 73 to finish two rounds at 3-over 147. Wie was 12 strokes behind the early leader Greg Meyer, a Japanese tour player who was at 9-under 135 after two rounds.
Playing from the championship tees, Wie is the only female in the field of 192, and the youngest overall.
The top 80 players plus ties qualified for today's play.