It was Billy Horschel’s course, and the rest of the field was just playing on it.
From three strokes back after the first round of the Memorial Tournament, Horschel tied for the best round of the day on Friday with a 68 and was the only player in the field without a bogey. He followed that up with a similar round of seven birdies with no bogeys to shoot 65 and take a comfortable five-shot lead at 13-under par. Chasing him on the final day will be Aaron Wise and Cameron Smith.
At this point, it seems like a Rahm-like incident would be the one thing that could derail Horschel from getting a handshake with Jack Nicklaus.
“I just go to the tee (on Sunday) understanding I’m leading the tournament,” Horschel said. “I know I’ve got however many shots I have ahead of the lead. Just going out, trying to play a really good round of golf. I’m not going to be protective; I’m not going to be overly aggressive. I’m going to play the way I have the last three days.”
Here are some of the highlights of the third round.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm fail to make a move on the Memorial Tournament leaderboard
Rahm started hot with two birdies on his first two holes. A sizeable chunk of players in the morning wave of groups was riding the birdie train, and it seemed like Rahm was joining them. But he wasn’t able to capitalize on hitting 14-of-18 greens.
No. 12 was where it all went wrong.
Rahm hit his tee shot into the bunker on the far side of the green, then sent his second shot into the water. Without a place to drop, he walked back to the drop zone across the water and two-putted for a triple-bogey.
Throughout the week, he has struggled off the tee, and he hit just half the fairways for a second straight day. He finished 1-over on Saturday.
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McIlroy was much better off the tee on Saturday, hitting 11-of-14 fairways and ranking second in driving distance. But his putting failed him. He had just two birdies and didn’t make any of his nine attempts at birdie on the first 10 holes.
McIlroy and Rahm were far from the only players to have an issue with the course. From the group of Rahm and Corey Conners onward, all players were a combined 5-over.
“I think it’s the way the golf course should play. It’s perfect. I mean … it’s tough, but it’s fair,” McIlroy said. “Obviously you see someone like Billy (Horschel) go out and you’re still able to do that if you hit the shots and hole the putts.”
Daniel Berger, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay excites Muirfield Village crowd
They might be in contention, per se, but three 2021 US Ryder Cup team members had some of the best rounds on Saturday.
Daniel Berger made the biggest move from 2-under to 7-under with a round of 67 that featured just one bogey. Berger has played the past two weeks after taking more than a month off. This is easily the best he has played since finishing fourth in the Honda Classic in February.
“I haven’t played that much golf,” he said. “Been dealing with some health stuff. It’s nice to get back and get a couple rounds under my belt and get going in a positive direction.”
Memorial Tournament 2022: Finally healthy, Westerville resident Jason Day shoots 68 Saturday at Memorial
Jordan Spieth was one of the early risers in two ways. He went off before 10 am, and he was 3-under for the round and the tournament through six holes. He would jump to 4-under with a birdie on No. 14 before finishing 3-under.
Patrick Cantlay also shot a 69 and had the two biggest highlights of the round with a couple of long eagles on Nos. 7 and 15. At 6-under, like Berger, Cantlay’s not completely out of it.
Other biggest movers at the Memorial
Jason Day, Brendan Steele and Sahith Theegala each shot 4-under 68.
Day has dealt with back injuries for the better part of seven years. The one-time world No. 1 player has fallen to 132nd in the world.
“I’m optimistic about where things are going, but I’m trying to be as patient as possible,” he said about regaining his form.
Shot of the day taken by Patrick Cantlay at Memorial Tournament
Cantlay’s were good, but not as good as Day from the middle of the fairway for an eagle on No. 3. He said he was in a divot when hitting this shot, which spun beautifully down the slope into the hole.
And why not a second ridiculous shot on the very next hole?
Smith deserves some recognition, too. He had to chip over a lip of rough that impeded his line to the hole. But he also had to land it soft enough just to stay on the ground and not roll off the front.
A proper golf shot.
oddity of the day at the Memorial Tournament courtesy of Mito Periera
Mito Periera thought he had a birdie on the 14th hole walking to the 15th tee, but it was fairly obvious to rules officials that it was par.
Pereira’s chip off the green at 14 rolled to the edge of the cup and didn’t fall in when he approached it. Without touching it, and with his caddy very delicately removing the pin without touching the ball, Pereira’s ball fell in, so he recorded a three.
But officials believed Pereira didn’t address his ball in the time required by the rules, so it was changed to par, according to the Palm Beach Post. The associated rule, 13.3, says, “If any part of your ball is overhanging the lip, you are allowed a reasonable time to reach the hole and then a further 10 seconds to wait and see whether it will drop.”
“They said it was 30 (seconds),” Pereira said. “Pretty long but I don’t think it was 30. I think it’s not a very good rule, but it is what it is.”
One of us
Luke List had a miserable 17th hole to take him from four shots back to seven shots back and finish his round even par. But Corey Conners owns the day for a moment that “one of us” might be responsible for.
On No. 1, Conners hit a lovely chip shot inside 3 feet to save par. However, Conners missed it and the putt rolled to 5 feet by the hole. He missed that one as well to finish with a double-bogey.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Billy Horschel sprints ahead in 3rd round of Memorial Tournament