A familiar name lurks at the top of the leaderboard at the Sanford International, the PGA Tour Champions event held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is a two-time major champion, too. That would be John Daly, who has not yet recorded a top-10 finish in 2023. But he has a great chance to do so in South Dakota this weekend. After his spectacular 6-under 64 Saturday, which featured a pair of eagles, Daly sits at 10-under par, two strokes behind Steve Stricker. “I play for the fans,” Daly said afterward.
“I love them. I’ve always loved them, and hopefully, it’ll be fun tomorrow.” The last time Daly finished in the top 10 of a PGA Tour Champions event was in June 2022, when he tied for eighth at the American Family Insurance Championship. Daly has struggled this season, mainly because of his putting and injuries. “It was great,” Daly said when asked about his round. “Made putts the last two days, and I don’t think I made hardly any eagles this year.
To have two out there today really helped. Hitting the ball pretty good. Playing smart. Got to make putts. Made a few putts.” The former Arkansas Razorback eagled the par-5 4th and the par-5 12th, as he made three other birdies to accompany one bogey Saturday. “Hit driver, 5-iron into four and made a good 25-footer down the hill, and driver 8-iron into 12 and made about a 15-footer, so that helps,” Daly said about his eagles. Daly had quite the gallery following him Saturday, so those eagles certainly fired up the South Dakota fans. “They’ve always been great.
Everywhere I go, they’re just so supportive,” Daly said. “It’s just good to finally play a decent tournament so far for them because it’s been a rough year with the knees, shoulders, back, and everything. So it’s just great to be able to follow through again. Starting in Canada was the first time I could follow through in about seven years.
I’ve had both knees replaced. “It just feels good to get through the golf ball again.” Daly will begin his final round in the penultimate group at 1:10 ET. Robert Karlson and K.J. Choi will join him. Coverage of the final round of the Sanford International begins on Golf Channel at 4:00 p.m.
ET. Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.