WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — As Greenbrier second-round leader Billy Hurley evolved into third-round leader Billy Hurley, the prospect of his first PGA Tour victory was becoming palpable.
The eighth-year pro shot 3-under 67 on Saturday, good enough to carry a two-stroke edge into the final 18 holes on the Old White TPC. Though Hurley has earned $878,000 this season, he craves that elusive breakthrough win to secure all the requisite tour privileges.
“If I play nicely, somebody’s going to have play really darn well to beat me,” he said. “I guess it will be a little bit more chaotic than golf tournaments I’ve been in before, but we’ll embrace the chaos, have fun and try to hit quality shots.
“I’m just going to try to do my thing, go play like Billy Hurley and hopefully it will be enough.”
Two shots behind at 10-under was Angel Cabrera, who fired a 6-under 64. The Argentine owns a U.S. Open title and a Masters green jacket, but no PGA Tour win.
“I’ve been playing well, but today I made some putts finally,” Cabrera said through an interpreter.
Among those putts was 10-footer for par on No. 14, which followed a 23-yard chip out of the rough. “El Pato” called the difficult up-and-down “a big monument that kept the round going.”
Kevin Chappell (69) was in third at 9-under, while seven players were tied at 8-under, four shots back.
Six shots off the pace sat Bubba Watson, who was plagued by four bogeys and settled for a 69. West Virginia’s newest millionaire resident will tee off at 12:55 p.m. Sunday with Luke Guthrie.
PACKED TIGHTLY AT 8-UNDER
Former Georgia Tech golfer Cameron Tingale matched Cabrera for the lowest round of the day and was anything but gassed—leaving the course with thoughts of playing tennis Saturday night.
“The pins were pretty generous today. You can be pretty aggressive,” Tingale said. “The course is in great shape, so if you’re on the green, you’re going to have a pretty good chance of rolling it in.”
Will Wilcox (65) has made seven of 11 cuts in his first full tour season, highlighted by tying for eighth in the Sony Open back in January. However, he has dented the top-25 only once since then.
“I’ve made a lot of cuts this year, but I haven’t had many high finishes other than Hawaii,” he said. “So it’s awesome to be out here and prove to myself that I can hang.”
Champions Tour member Joe Durant (66) sank a 45-foot birdie putt on No. 2 and remained in contention. With more gorgeous weather on tap Sunday, he anticipated quite a shootout.
“It’s fun being out here with the young guys, but I feel like I’m holding my own OK,” Durant said.
Another 50-year-old making noise was Davis Love III, whose 65 left him 6-under for the tournament. He’s hoping to qualify for Royal Liverpool in two weeks.
“I need to put a Stuart Appleby on them tomorrow and take care of getting into the British Open,” he said.
NOTABLE TEE TIMES