ORLANDO – Davis Love III’s winning ways are ageless.
The 54-year-old and his son, Dru, fired a 16-under 56 in a scramble format Sunday at the PNC Father/Son Challenge to storm from three shots back to a three-shot victory at 26 under.
Team Love began the day hot, starting the round birdie-birdie-eagle. After a rare par at No. 4, the pair then ripped off five straight birdies to go out in 9-under 27. The pace didn’t slow down much from there, either, as the Loves went 5 under from Nos. 11-15. They then finished birdie-birdie to get in at that 26-under number at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
It seemed that would be enough to win, and nobody from behind challenged down the stretch. The two-day 118 total was a new tournament record by a shot. Retief Goosen and son, Leo, fired a Sunday 58 to jump five spots to T-2 at 23-under 121. John Daly and his son, Little John, were the first-round leaders but fell to that same 23-under number for a T-2.
Team Cink also finished T-2.
The day unfolded in the Loves favor thanks to an aggressive mindset.
“Today I told (Dru), ‘Let’s try to hole every wedge shot, let’s try to eagle every hole like we’re behind,’ ” Davis Love III said.
This is the pair’s second win at this event, as the duo won the title in 2012 as well.
The elder Love, a 21-time PGA Tour winner, earns another victory in his 50s. This one is not his most impressive to date actually. Three years ago, Love became the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history when he captured the Wyndham Championship at age 51.
When comparing that triumph to his win with Dru on Sunday, Davis noted, “It’s more special to win with your son.”
Dru sarcastically interjected, “Come on.”
“We had a lot of fun today,” Dru explained, “but winning a PGA Tour event, getting your 21st win at 51 years old and playing in the Masters, that’s why you play golf.”
Davis pointed to Dru as the one who helped carry the team to victory, especially with his hot putting.
The 25-year-old fell short at the first stage of Web.com Tour Q-School this fall and his plan in 2019 is to play pretty much anywhere he can. That means Monday qualifiers, mini-tour events, maybe some time in Europe. He’ll be competing along with his father at next month’s SMBC Singapore Open (an Asian Tour event).
The younger Love did prove himself this fall when he shot a third-round 64 at the RSM Classic and finished T-54 in that PGA Tour field.
The Loves indicated this may be their last time at this event, and their competition wouldn’t be too disappointed in no longer having to deal with keeping up with this formidable duo.
After finishing up solo sixth with his grandson G.T., Jack Nicklaus came by and joked to the elder Love, “Get back out on Tour, will ya? Get out of here.”
This event holds an even greater meaning for the Loves, as Davis Love III was close to his dad. Davis Love Jr. was one of the most respected teachers in the game, and his son was one of his pupils. He passed away in 1988 at age 53 in a plane crash.
On this day, Davis Love III had dad in mind. But that is always the case.
“We don’t play without thinking about him,” Davis Love III said. “We honor him every day pretty much.”
They certainly did that very well on Sunday.