The day started with a 15-time major winner burning down the front nine at Muirfield Village, and it ended with two other multiple major winners torching the back. Tiger Woods went out in 32 before dropping shots coming home (more on him below), but the real stars of Saturday were playing in the penultimate pairing.
Two-time major champ Martin Kaymer shot a 6-under 66 to assume a 2-stroke lead going into Sunday over Adam Scott and four over Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Cantlay. Playing alongside Kaymer, Spieth shot a 3-under 69 that included a 32 on the back nine, and gave himself a chance for his first win in two years.
Let’s take a deep dive into Saturday’s Round 3 festivities.
First place — Martin Kaymer (-15): Maybe nobody in golf has more distance between their ceiling and their floor than Kaymer. When he’s on, he looks like Ben Hogan. When he’s not, he looks like Charles Barkley. This week, it’s much more of the former than the latter, but I still have a little concern with how hot his putter has been. The lead might be wide enough that he won’t have to pour in as many birdie putts on Sunday, but the numbers below are probably not sustainable.
Last place — Boo Weekley (+8): Boo shot a tough 79 on Saturday, but you know what? Who cares. Weekley is simply glad to be back contending after a cancer scare last summer.
Other contenders — Adam Scott (-13), Hideki Matsuyama (-11), Patrick Cantlay (-11), Jordan Spieth (-11): That escalated from a Troy Merritt-K.H. Lee-Martin Kaymer board to a group of former major winners (and major talents) rather quickly, didn’t it? Kaymer is obviously the favorite given how he’s playing right now, but he’s surrounded by golfers who know what the air on a Sunday afternoon at a huge event feels like. For me, Spieth has answered all the questions this week. He’s putting fine, but his score is a result of the fact that he’s hitting it beautifully. Spieth is sixth in the field from tee to green, and maybe more importantly, he’s shooting 69s while it looks like he’s shooting 79s. Might be back. Get at me after he tries to slay that “outside the top 200 in Round 4 scoring average” demon on Sunday.
Also, hit it better, Adam Scott. He’s gained 8.5 strokes on approach shots, while third-place Peter Malnati has gained 5.6 (!)
What did Tiger Woods do? Big Catthat at one point in the round was a lot better. Woods made four birdies in his first seven holes and looked destined for something in the mid-60s. But a double at No. 10 unwound the work, and Tiger faded a little late with a 38 on the back. He’ll have work to do on Sunday to backdoor a top 10.
Who had a great day? Matsuyama finished while some of the leaders were making the turn. His bogey-free, 8-under 64 was one of just five rounds better than 68 on the day. Matsuyama gained seven strokes from tee to green and had a proximity to the hole of 20 feet, which is a hilariously good number. That’s what happens when you hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation. Matsuyama won this event five years ago, and he’ll go for his first victory overall since the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Who had a lousy day? Rickie Fowler didn’t play poorly, but I really wanted to see something better than an even-par 72 on a day when the big dogs were galloping around Muirfield Village. At 7 under and so many strokes back, he’s out of it barring a miracle.
Stat of the day: This made me laugh for some reason.
Shot of the day: This chip on No. 18 for the 64 from Matsuyama was impossible.
My Pick: Patrick Cantlay said after his 4-under 68 to get to T3 that he’s gotten close to Jack Nicklaus and doesn’t want to give away too many secrets. Hopefully, he told him how to shut down Muirfield Village on a Sunday.
What to watch on Day 4: It’s Kaymer’s tournament to lose. He’s up two on Scott, who ranks 129th in Round 4 scoring average on the PGA Tour this season. But he’s up four on everybody else. Four is a lot. If Kaymer shoots anything in the 60s, I suspect that’s a wrap, but the fun thing about all of this is that there is no shortage of firepower lurking just beyond him to clean up the mess if he makes one.
Also, there’s this.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Saturday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 3 of the Memorial Tournament. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here.
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