Dunlap joins big names at Gwinnett Championship

Seven players Saturday shared the day’s low round of 68. Many are familiar names. Then there’s Duluth’s Scott Dunlap.

He is a golf gypsy who has played in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America — anywhere with 18 holes and a scoring table. He is quite the realist, too. “I was chasing a dollar and wanted to play golf for a living because I wasn’t good enough at 21, 22, 23 to play the PGA Tour. So my passport’s stamped with a lot of neat places, and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world,” he said. Sounds like he already got the world.

Never been attacked by hornets, though, like that poor guy at the Malaysian Open who Friday had to jump into a lake to get away from a swarm. Certain African courses he’s played may have other hazards like lions, water buffalo and snakes, but “I haven’t been attacked or had to run anywhere,” he said.

His 68 counts just the same as any former Masters champion out here. He’s at 3 under for the tournament, tied for 11th entering the final round, six back of leader Miguel Angel Jimenez.

He is a real grinder among the leaders, who before this season had to survive a playoff for one of only five spots to be won at Champions Tour Q school. With one top-10 finish in five events so far this year, he has won nearly $113,000.

Self-realization seems to be a real strength. “I’m a non-winner on Tour. I’ve won a couple times on the Web.com Tour. I’ve had the career I’ve had. Those guys I’m beating my head against have had the careers they’ve had. There’s probably a reason for that.

“I might have a chance to be there on Sunday. … But it’s just fun to be in the mix, win or lose.”

Celebrity update: No spectators were harmed during the making of the Novelis Celebrity Challenge — a threesome of former Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and former Georgia Bulldogs/Chicago Bears kicker Kevin Butler that was embedded within the tournament Saturday.

It can be a little nerve-wracking to play a secondary sport in front of an audience. “There’s always the embarrassment factor. It’s a little different than a Saturday at the club with the guys,” Glavine said. But all three played through without incident, drawing one of the larger galleries.

With his healthy 11-handicap, Butler was declared the winner of the event (2 over, with handicap). The match was for charity, benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Smoltz, the scratch golfer in the group, was 6 over; Glavine with his six-handicap, was 7 over.

At one time Smoltz, 46, considered working on his game in an attempt to qualify for the Champions Tour. Those thoughts have been retired, as he has battled some shoulder issues that required surgery just six weeks ago. “I’m content where I am. I was just trying to go out there and have my shoulder feel right,” he said.

Etc.: At 1 over on his front nine, Bernhard Langer flirted briefly with ending his streak of below-par Champions Tour rounds at 17. But his back-side 31 neatly took care of that. … Monday qualifier Marco Dawson of Merritt Island, Fla., is tied for ninth at 4 under. If he finishes in the top 10, he will automatically qualify for the next Champions Tour event, next month in Iowa.