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Clemson alums, friends enjoy fun day

DULUTH - Before Jonathan Byrd left the TPC at Sugarloaf practice range on Friday evening, he got a text message from good friend and fellow PGA Tour golfer Charles Warren.

The tee times for Saturday's third round of the BellSouth Classic were released, and Warren let his former Clemson teammate know they were playing in the same threesome on Saturday afternoon.

It was an enjoyable day for the South Carolina natives, who have known each other for more than 16 years after meeting as junior golfers.

Their mothers took turns driving them to junior tournaments in the Columbia, S.C. area. They've remained good friends, serving as groomsmen in each other's weddings.

Now both of their wives are pregnant - six weeks apart - with each couple's first child at the same time.

"We're pulling for each other," said Warren, who played two seasons at Clemson with Byrd, helping one team to an NCAA runner-up finish. "We're very close with each other. It was fun (on Saturday). It was awesome to see him play like that. He played good all day. It was just a matter of getting a few breaks and momentum and he took advantage of it."

Byrd, 28, and Warren, 30, also played in the same grouping last year at The Honda Classic, but they teed off first on Sunday in that tourney, so Saturday was a different situation for the friends. Both were in the BellSouth hunt, and both had plenty to play for in the third round.

"We didn't really exchange words like we were in college, not telling each other how bad we were going to beat each other or anything," Byrd said of Saturday's round. "We look forward to it. There's a lot of Clemson people out there today, saying 'Go Tigers' all day. It was a good environment."

Byrd certainly flourished while playing with his buddy. He fired a 6-under 66 to join Zach Johnson in a second-place tie at 203, eight shots behind leader Phil Mickelson.

He's the only other player in the field besides Mickelson with three rounds in the 60s - no golfer has ever posted four rounds in the 60s in the BellSouth since it moved to Sugarloaf in 1997.

Byrd made six birdies on the back nine to go out with a 30.

Warren shot his second straight even-par 72 (after a first-round 65) and is tied for ninth place at 209.

Search party

A large pack of searchers - 15 to be exact - scoured the tall grass right of the 18th fairway for a lengthy period on Saturday to track down Wes Short Jr.'s tee shot.

Nobody ever found it and Short had to return to the tee box and hit a second tee shot. He finished with a double-bogey seven on the par 5.

Beem me in

Rich Beem gave the large gallery a show on the 18th hole, chipping in for eagle from the greenside sand trap on the par 5.

After making the shot from 85 feet away, Beem pumped his fist several times to the crowd and then playfully tossed the ball into the lake after he retrieved it from the hole.

The shot capped a 4-under 68, which left last year's runner-up tied for ninth at 7 under.

Wired

The first 1,000 people to stop by the XM Radio rental tents, located at two shuttle drop-off points (in the Orange and Yellow parking lots) and behind the 18th green, can get a free portable XM2go satellite radio for use during today's final round of the BellSouth Classic.

XM has its own PGA Tour channel and listeners can get comprehensive play-by-play coverage from noon to 6 p.m. The device also scrolls a leaderboard, often more up to date than the large digital ones placed throughout the course.

XM will also be offering a limited supply of satellite radios for purchase at a significant discount, offered just to patrons of the BellSouth.

Seen and heard

The Dogleg Lounge, with its big mahogany bar and comfy big couches, overlooks the 16th green and is considered a hot spot on the course.

On Saturday, it was well-stocked with fans enjoying the fine weather and adult beverages inside and out in the grandstands.

A sample of things overheard at the Dogleg Lounge late in the third round as people waited for leader Phil Mickelson's group to pass through:

"Do you know where Phil Mickelson is?"

"In the blimp?"

"No, the blimp is following him."

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"OK, you may be important if a blimp is following you around."

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"That pin placement is kind of easy for a Sunday."

- Staff writer Christine Troyke contributed to this story.

BellSouth Classic

Final round tee times

Sunday

TPC at Sugarloaf at Duluth

8:02 a.m. - Phil Tataurangi, Sonny Skinner

8:13 a.m. - Joe Durant, Donnie Hammond

8:23 a.m. - Dean Wilson, Jeff Overton, Tom Byrum

8:34 a.m. - Steve Jones, Scott Parel, Scott McCarron

8:44 a.m. - Robert Garrigus, Tjaart van der Walt, Jerry Smith

8:55 a.m. - Danny Ellis, Greg Chalmers, Kevin Na

9:05 a.m. - Wes Short, Jr., Davis Love III, Ron Whittaker

9:16 a.m. - Hidemichi Tanaka, Steve Lowery, Tim Clark

9:26 a.m. - B.J. Staten, Bo Van Pelt, Jeff Brehaut

9:37 a.m. - Matt Kuchar, Franklin Langham, Boyd Summerhays

9:47 a.m. - Greg Kraft, Mike Sposa, Stephen Leaney

9:58 a.m. - Chris Smith, Brian Gay, Frank Lickliter II

10:08 a.m. - Shingo Katayama, Brett Wetterich, Roger Tambellini

10:19 a.m. - Jeff Gove, David Branshaw, Jonathan Kaye

10:29 a.m. - Gavin Coles, Thomas Levet, Bubba Dickerson

10:40 a.m. - Dudley Hart, Duffy Waldorf, Ian Poulter

10:50 a.m. - Sean O'Hair, Marco Dawson, Luke Donald

11:01 a.m. - Charley Hoffman, David Toms, Billy Andrade

11:11 a.m. - Brent Geiberger, Shane Bertsch, Mathias Gronberg

11:22 a.m. - Arron Oberholser, Jason Bohn, Stewart Cink

11:32 a.m. - Larry Mize, Padraig Harrington, Ryuji Imada

11:43 a.m. - Richard S. Johnson, Fredrik Jacobsen, Will MacKenzie

11:53 a.m. - Mark Wilson, David Howell, Charles Warren

12:04 p.m. - Briny Baird, Rich Beem, Alex Cejka

12:14 p.m. - J.J. Henry, Retief Goosen, Todd Fischer

12:25 p.m. - Jose Maria Olazabal, Doug Barron, Steve Flesch

12:35 p.m. - Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd