Corey Pavin, as might be expected, provided his usual consistency and calm demeanor to hold onto the lead at the Allianz Championship on Saturday.
In contrast, little-known Doug Garwood, a non-PGA Tour winner, provided the most interesting and unexpected up-and-down performance of the day by flirting with a 59 until late into his round.
Pavin, 56, shot a 4-under-par 68 on the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton to finish the second round of the three-round tournament that concludes Sunday at 66-68 — 134. He holds a one-stroke lead over old friend Tom Lehman (67-68).
“We’re great, great friends,” Pavin said of Lehman. “We go a long way back. Tom asked me to be his assistant on the Ryder Cup when he was captain, and I asked him to be my assistant when I was captain.”
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In addition, Lehman and his wife are the godparents to Pavin’s daughter.
“Obviously, we have a great relationship,” Pavin said.
Not only will Pavin and Lehman be paired in Sunday’s final round, they were together in the last group on Saturday.
“Tom and I had plenty of conversation out there,” Pavin said. “Playing golf with him is playing golf with a friend. It’s fun except we’re both trying to beat each other’s brains out, and we both know it and it’s fine.”
As for holding the lead, even though it’s precarious, Pavin said tongue-in-cheek, “You know, being in the lead is always the best position to be in. I managed to figure that out a long time ago.”
Lehman agreed with Pavin that playing together, even if the stakes are high, will be enjoyable.
“He’s such a wonderful guy, we’re very close,” Lehman said of Pavin. “It’s fun to play with him because he’s such a competitor … such a grinder. That kind of hides the fact that he’s such a talented golfer.”
Without a doubt, the most talked-about round on Saturday was posted by one of those “who’s he” of golf, the ever-smiling Garwood.
Through 13 holes, Garwood was at 10-under for the day. How good is that? The record and Holy Grail for the PGA Tour in a single round is 59, and the Allianz is an official PGA Tour event. Garwood, who birdied his first three holes and six of seven holes later in the round, had five holes left and needed three birdies to record that 59.
Golf history awaited him. Actually, golf history was just taunting him.
The golf course Garwood had become so enamored with suddenly turned on him — and it turned hard. He first bogeyed his 17th hole, the par-3 eighth because he started on the back nine. That was followed by hitting it into the water on the par-4 ninth, his final hole, and taking double bogey.
Quickly as an overly fast swing can cause a pull, dreams of a 59 turned into the reality of a round of 65.
The bad news: The chance for a coveted 59 was gone.
The good news: After a routine even-par 72 on the first day followed by Saturday’s round, Garwood was back in the scramble to win the tournament and just three strokes behind Pavin.
Garwood, 52, was completely honest about his round’s crash-landing.
“Probably when I was 10-under I was thinking, ‘Wow, what if I birdie out?’ That was probably my downfall,” he said.
Then Garwood, who was still smiling after the dreadful double bogey on his last hole, was asked what emotions he was feeling.
“Smiling on the outside, crying on the inside,” he replied. “No, I do shake it off pretty good.’
Garwood even had enough composure to joke when asked what his immediate plans were.
“I’ll probably trash the hotel room,” he said.
Then, after some consideration and thinking someone might take him seriously, he deadpanned, “I was just kidding. Probably won’t — too expensive.”