Kuchar shares Memorial lead at happy hunting ground

Former champion Matt Kuchar putting himself in position to win another Memorial Tournament title at Muirfield Village. The American shot a two-under 70 in the third round to claim a share of the lead.
Former champion Matt Kuchar putting himself in position to win another Memorial Tournament title at Muirfield Village. The American shot a two-under 70 in the third round to claim a share of the lead.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Matt Kuchar tallied four birdies in a back nine stretch en route to a two-under 70 and a share of the lead following the third round of the Memorial Tournament on Saturday.

The 2013 champion returned after a long rain delay and made bogey on his final hole to finish at 14-under 202 through 54 holes.

Kuchar had three straight birdies beginning on the par-four 13th and four birdies and two par saves in a six-hole stretch on the back nine.

He is tied with fellow Americans William McGirt and Gary Woodland at the Muirfield Village course.

Australia's Jason Day, who mixed seven birdies with a bogey and a double at the last, shot a 68 and is tied for 11th. The world No. 1 is just three shots back of the leaders.

"I did close the gap on that lead a little bit too, so that's a positive, and I'm pretty sure we're going to have some tough conditions tomorrow," said Day, who was five strokes off the pace after the second round.

Rory McIlroy is five shots adrift after shooting a 70.

Emilio Grillo and Dustin Johnson lead a group of four golfers at 13-under 203, one shot back of the leaders. Grillo had an even bigger late stumble than Kuchar as the Argentinian posted a double bogey on the par-four 17th. The miscue dropped him from the lead to a 70.

"On 17, I was ready to hit and the official told me not to hit, and then they waited a minute to blow the horn," he said. "I'm kind of (mad) about that, but it is what it is.

"Instead of hitting a driver on 17, I'd be hitting a three-wood and my second shot from the fairway most likely."

The 36-year-old McGirt, seeking his first PGA Tour win, sank a four-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole en route to a 64, while Woodland had a bogey-free 69.

Kuchar, who has recorded four top-10s in his last five PGA Tour starts, relished the prospect of challenging for the title at one of his favourite venues.

"I love this golf course, this is the highlight for me of the year," said the 37-year-old, who was also joint-second here in 2011.

"Certainly got great memories here. I've had a lot of success here... I'll certainly be looking forward to tomorrow's round of golf."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Kuchar shares Memorial lead at happy hunting ground'. Print Edition | Subscribe