Baird, Kirk grab share of McGladrey Classic lead
Sea Island, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Briny Baird birdied his final three holes on Saturday to meet Chris Kirk atop the leaderboard entering the final round of the McGladrey Classic.
Baird and Kirk, playing together in the final group, shot 67 and 68, respectively, with the latter also carding a birdie at the 18th to reach 10- under 200 through 54 holes.
"It's a great way to finish and it puts me in a better position going into tomorrow than if I'd have just finished with pars," Baird said. "That would have made the work tomorrow considerably harder."
Brian Gay, one of three players in the field who played in last week's World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China, shot 66 and moved into a share of third place. The four-time PGA Tour winner is tied with Kevin Stadler (65) and John Senden (68) at 9-under 201.
Brendon Todd (67) and Scott Brown (68) share sixth place at 8-under, one shot ahead of Jason Kokrak (69).
Matt Kuchar (68), at two-time PGA Tour winner in 2013, and Webb Simpson (71), who already won this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, are part of a group tied for ninth place at minus-6.
"Looks like I'm going to have to go a lot deeper than (68) to catch these guys tomorrow," said Kuchar.
The tournament is back on schedule after fog delayed play nearly two hours on the opening day. The second round was completed Saturday morning, with Kirk grabbing a 1-stroke lead through 36 holes.
Kirk, who is seeking his second PGA Tour win and first since the 2011 Viking Classic, got off to a slow start in the third round, carding a pair of bogeys and 10 pars over his first 12 holes.
The 28-year-old heated up from there, however, notching three straight birdies from the 13th, then rolling home a 25-footer for birdie at the par-4 last to grab the clubhouse lead at 10-under.
Baird was quick to join Kirk, as the 41-year-old drained his birdie effort from eight feet on No. 18 to grab a share of the lead entering the final round. Baird, who missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing surgery on both shoulders, is seeking his first PGA Tour win in his 365th start. In addition to his hat trick of closing birdies, he mixed 11 pars, a pair of birdies and two bogeys during his third round.
"It's not like you can just go out there and play conservative and try to hold onto your lead," said Kirk. "It's sort of anybody's game. Obviously, I'm happy to be tied for the lead right now because that's one less shot that I've got to go get tomorrow. But I've got to go play a really good round tomorrow, and hope that nobody plays a really great round tomorrow."
NOTES: Baird has finished second five times in his career. He has won more money (almost $13 million) than any other active player without a win ... The cut line was 1-over. Defending champion Tommy Gainey (70-74) and tournament host Davis Love III (75-74) both missed the cut.
11/09 18:24:41 ET