Much of the sporting world was interested in seeing American Pharaoh’s attempt to win a Triple Crown, however with the collective disappointments from Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, neither can even think about a show, let alone a win or place.
At the end of the day however Justin Rose emerged the leader after three rounds of play at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
Rose, the 2010 Memorial Tournament champion fired a 6-under par 66 and leads by three shots over Francesco Molinari and David Lingmerth.
Rose shot -3 on the front nine however he was behind Andy Sullivan during this time.
At 14, Rose made his move. He was in-between clubs and decided to play it safe hitting his 52-degree wedge under the hole. He would make the putt and tie for the lead.
“It was nice to get rewarded for what I thought was a smart shot by making that 25-foot putt there,” Rose said. “Anytime ahead of a par 5, that was a nice momentum getter.”
Rose grabbed the lead for good with a birdie on 15.
Molinari will tee off with Rose at 1:40 p.m. as part of the final group. Molinari’s 69 gives him three rounds in the 60’s which is something he only shares with Rose.
His front nine consisted of birdies on holes 6-8. He recorded one birdie and one bogey the rest of the way.
Lingmerth’s round started with a birdie on the first hole however he recorded bogeys on both the fifth and sixth holes. He would immediately get those strokes back on seven with an eagle. On the back nine, Lingmerth fell down to 10-under par, however he would birdie 15 and 17.
The round of the day was a 7-under par 65 which was shot by Kevin Streelman, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson.
Streelman is at 10-under par for the tournament and cited his putter as the reason for success.
“All I can do is my best,” Streelman said. “It’s nice to get out early and make some putts. It put me in position to maybe have a chance tomorrow. The course is in great shape and it will be a great Sunday.”
Johnson and Bradley were a group apart and were among the first to tee off in the morning wave.
Johnson used a peculiar method to find success.
“I was watching one of the commercials I filmed and that was probably some of the best I’ve swung a club,” said Johnson. “I noticed something in my setup so I went out to the range, adjusted my setup a little bit and started hitting the ball well again.”
Bradley also went with a visual to find success however his method was one not witnessed on television.
“I saw Dustin, he was playing in front of me and I saw him going low,” Bradley said. “I kind of told myself, I can’t let DJ outplay me this bad. So that kind of helped me actually seeing DJ make putts and eagles in front of me.”
Jim Furyk is in solo fourth place after shooting a 2-under par 70. Streelman joins Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Sullivan all at -10. Bradley and Thomas Aiken are tied for ninth and nine-under par.
Neither Mickelson nor Woods spoke to reporters following their rounds. The two combined to shoot +10 on the front nine.
Spieth fired an even par round and was left looking for answers. He missed his last eight greens in regulation and described his frustration to reporters about the 18th hole stating it summed up his round in one hole.
“Golf gods were not on my side today,” said Spieth.
The golf gods are on Rose’s side however as he looks to become the seventh player to win the Memorial Tournament on more than one occasion. He would join Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Greg Norman, Kenny Perry and Tiger Woods.
Hole of the day:
The 18th hole played extremely tough with only three players [Ken Duke, Russell Knox and Camilo Villegas] recording birdies on the hole Saturday. The hole also had 18 bogeys, seven double bogeys, three double bogeys and a quadruple bogey.
“The 18th hole definitely took some names today,” Rose said.
Lingmerth was one of the fortunate ones and he parred the hole.
“That pin position,” said Lingmerth. “What you want to do is leave it a little short so you can have an uphill putt, but there’s no room for it so it’s pretty much impossible to get a look at birdie. If you miss the green, it’s tough to get it up and down from anywhere around there.”