Motley crew contending at Greenbrier, G-Mac wins in France from 8-shots behind

Final Round Preview – PGA Tour – The Greenbrier Classic –The Old White TPC – White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia –

Billy Hurley III slept on the 54-hole lead at The Greenbrier Classic – the first of his career on the PGA Tour.

Hurley, a former U.S. Naval officer, is trying to win his first PGA Tour title on this Independence Day weekend in America. Hurley (12-under overall) heads into Sunday’s final round with a two-shot advantage over two-time major champion Angel Cabrera.

Under final-pairing pressure Saturday in round three, Hurley stood tall carding a 3-under-67. But, Cabrera is a proven champion with victories at the U.S. Open and the Masters. He also lost a Masters two years in a playoff to Adam Scott.

There is a true motley crew of contenders at The Old White TPC – a mixer of young and inexperienced, a major champion and aging veterans.

Cabrera’s third-round 64 moved him into the final pairing. Kevin Chappell, also looking for his first win, is alone in third at 9-under. A bevy of seven players are T-4 at 8-under including Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas and Joe Durant.

Durant led the Champions Tour major – the Constellation Senior Players Championship – after round one last week when he fired a 64. Durant, playing both PGA Tour and Champions Tour this season, leads the big tour in Driving Accuracy Percentage this season hitting 75 percent of his Fairways in Regulation.

For the 32-year-old Hurley, he was a 100-to-1 long shot at to win this title. Stricker, 47, was a  25-1 selection, while Chappell was listed at 80-1. Cabrera, trying to win his first regular-season, non-major on the PGA Tour, was a 100-1 pick.

Cabrera’s 64 Saturday included a front-nine 30. If he can apply immediate pressure to an inexperience Hurley, this tournament could be wide open Sunday. No 54-hole leaders have gone on to win this title and a number of big names have slipped up this season with a 54-hole lead including Scott, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar.

Probably too far back is a group at T-12 featuring Watson and Bill Haas.

Other Golf News:

  • Graeme McDowell (5-under overall) defended his title at the Alstom Open de France. He came from eight shots back on Sunday carding a 4-under-67. The help came from overnight leader Kevin Stadler, who struggled to close it out and three-putted the 72nd green to miss out on a playoff. G-Mac was a 12-1 pick to win the title.  
  • Stadler shot 5-over-76 Sunday missing a short putt on the low side to force a playoff. Stadler, who won earlier this year on the PGA Tour in Phoenix, was looking for his second career European Tour title. He his just two of the first 10 Greens In Regulation (GIR) Sunday. Stads was 8th on the PGA Tour in GIR percentage in all of 2013.
  • G-Mac was T-6 two weeks ago at the Irish Open – three shots short of a playoff. He will be among the favorites at the Open Championship in two weeks at Royal Liverpool.
  • Jason Day withdrew earlier this week from The Greenbrier Classic with a thumb injury. His status is questionable for the 143rd Open Championship.
  • The World Golf Championship – Match Play returns in 2015 with a new layout and new format. TPC Harding Park will host the event, which will alter the format into a group play style in the early rounds before transitioning to single elimination.