By Chris Dazen
Dublin, Ohio — Andy Sullivan’s name sat alone at the as the sole-leader of Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Within a few holes, it was gone.
Sullivan is a player that has gone mostly unrecognizable during his three days here at Muirfield Village Country Club, but his play has earned him the recognition he deserves. Sullivan is more known on the European Tour and this is actually his first time participating in a non-match play event in the U.S.
Sullivan finished his round an even 72, remaining at 10 under-par for the Tournament, tied for 5th overall, but he left a lot on the table in terms of how he could have finished.
“A few loose swings and a couple of mental blips there, and I had a 72,” Sullivan said. “If someone said to me that I’d be 10-under after three rounds, I’d take that from the start of the week. I like the position I’m in.”
Sullivan played the first nine holes brilliantly carding a four-under 32, consisting of four birdies and going a perfect seven for seven in fairways hit. It was his back nine where Sullivan came undone and ran into the mental blips.
Sullivan’s first bogey of the day came on the 10th hole, an innocent lip on a putt. He followed that up with a birdie on the 11th, pushing him to 14 under and giving him a brief outright lead of the tournament, not that he noticed.
“No, I knew I was up there, but, no, I didn’t realize I was leading until then,” said Sullivan.
It was Nos. 14 and 16. where Sullivan’s game came undone. On the 14th, Sullivan had an innocent 91 yard chip to the pin and flubbed it into the water.
“Probably one of the one of the worst golf shots I’ve ever hit,” Sullivan said of his shot. “I forgot what I was doing and just hit that shot. It happens. If you lose concentration for a minute, it can bite you.”
Shorty after that shot, Sullivan had surrender his lead to Justin Rose, who ended up 15 under for the tournament at the end of the day. The 16th hole, Sullivan again ended up wet after hitting a “hard cut 6” short and into the pond. He double bogeyed the hole to fall back to 10 under where he would finish his day.
Sullivan’s overall demeanor towards his round and his overall performance has been positive. He’s come off as one of the most relaxed players during this tournament playing and enjoying his time here in the U.S.
“Just go out and enjoy it. I’ve been having fun all week with the fans and my caddie. Just go out there and have a laugh,” Sullivan said.
Credit for as well he has played goes to his caddy Sean McDonagh who has been with him for four years now. On the course you often see the two joking and overall McDonagh has kept him loose.
“We go around and have a good joke,” Sullivan said. “At the same time, it works well between us. He gives me a kick in the butt when I need it.”
Sullivan sits in a very favorable position heading into the final day at Muirfield Village, and if he is able to walk away with a win, there is an added bonus. Sullivan currently sits at No. 58 in the world. A win would most likely guarantee his spot inside the top 60 and award him admittance into the U.S. Open, which he is not qualified for.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. So I’m just going to go out and enjoy myself. For me it’s worth my whole career to just go out and have fun. I’m not going to stop doing it now. I love playing the game of golf and I’m going to show that,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan will tee off Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. paired alongside 2014 Memorial Tournament winner Hideki Matsuyama.