Tiger Woods ignited the galleries at the Memorial Tournament in OH on Friday with a five-under par 67 but still has a lot of work to do if he is to catch the leading pair of Joaquin Niemann and Kyle Stanley, who top the leaderboard on 11-under 133.
For the fourth straight year, Bryson DeChambeau leaves OH feeling like a victor.
Nineteen-year-old Chilean Niemann, who had shared the top spot after day one, had a mixed third round with bogeys on the 10th, 15th and third holes cancelling out three birdies as an eagle on the seventh saw him reach two-under for the day. He was briefly tied for the lead Saturday until three-putt bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes, and he had to settle for a 68.
Walking off the course with his first 54-hole lead, DeChambeau couldn't but help but think of the two that got away. He holed out with a sand wedge from 97 yards for eagle on the par-5 11th hole, and then his tee shot on the par-3 12th struck the flag waving in the wind and settled 6 feet behind the hole. "And I made a few tweaks in my swing, my setup and I was able to make some good swings and turned the whole thing around".
DeChambeau wasn't even sure where he was when he finished because so many players worked their way up and down the leaderboard over the final two hours. DeChambeau, after shooting a 6-under-par 66, is 14 under, one stroke ahead of Patrick Cantlay (66), Kyle Stanley (70), and Joaquin Niemann (70).
Woods missed a four-footer for birdie on the par-4 No. 14 and his par putt on No. 18 was more than three feet, which made dinner less tasty. Justin Rose dropped two shots over the last three holes for a 69 and was four back.
Woods was second to last in the key putting statistic among the 73 players who went all four rounds. He recorded a pair of bogeys on the first nine holes Friday, but then birdied six of the last nine to finish with a 66. He played a marvelous flop shot out of deep rough to a couple of feet for a certain par, only for DeChambeau to hit his approach 12 feet behind the hole and make the birdie.
"I know I shot a 68 today but again that was probably the highest score I could have shot today", said Woods.
"I'm not really thinking about my position but I'm really happy about my game right now", she said. "I play beautifully actually".
"That was huge because I just came off three-putting four".
He won the Memorial for the fifth time in 2012, finished 20 shots behind the following year and then injuries took over.
He energized the crowd, too, with a brilliant eagle on the par-5 11th at Muirfield Village, a place where he's won five times.
This year has produced the kind of golf OH fans are used to seeing.
The trio were tied on seven-under par 65 in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event at Muirfield Village.
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