Bubba Watson surges into lead at Memorial
Paul Casey struggles on his way to a 76; Adam Scott lurking dangerously
American Bubba Watson surged to the lead as Englishman Paul Casey plunged four strokes behind after the third round of the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Saturday.
Masters champion Watson used his astonishing power to compile five early birdies on his way to a three-under-par 69 in ideal conditions at Muirfield Village.
He posted a 12-under 204 total, one stroke ahead of compatriot Scott Langley (67) with one round left.
Young Japanese player Hideki Matsuyama (69) was two strokes behind, while world number one Adam Scott of Australia (68) trailed by three despite a bogey at the final hole.
Casey, who started the day with a three-shot lead, had a nightmare round, struggling with almost every facet of his game in a 76.
The former world number three has recently shown glimpses of his old brilliance as he seeks to regain his full playing status on the PGA Tour, but has been unable to string together four good rounds.
Watson, aiming to become the first left-hander to win this prestigious Jack Nicklaus-hosted event, played far more adventurously than his words suggested.
“I just kept my head down, grinding away,” he said. “Shooting in the 60s every day is my goal. It’s working out so far.”
Scott continued to justify his ranking as world number one with another impressive round that included a 25-foot eagle at the par-five 15th.
“It’s feeling good this week, better than last week,” he said ominously. “I was finding my feet again last week and took a lot of confidence out of winning and came here swinging the club very nice.”
Earlier Saturday, a large and generally supportive gallery watched Phil Mickelson shoot 72, barely 12 hours after media reports that he was under investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible insider trading.
Mickelson, who told reporters he had done nothing wrong and was cooperating with authorities, finished the round at two under par, 10 shots behind Watson.