Memorial Tournament: Masters champion Bubba Watson takes lead in Ohio
Last Updated: 01/06/14 11:25am
Bubba Watson waves to the gallery during his three-under 69
Bubba Watson shot his third straight round in the 60s to take a one-shot lead in the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
The Masters champion fired a three-under par 69 at Muirfield Village on Saturday to post a 54-hole total of 12-under - one shot clear of fellow American Scott Langley (67).
Third round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-12 B Watson
-11 S Langley
-10 H Matsuyama (Jpn)
-9 A Scott (Aus)
-8 C Schwartzel (Rsa)
-8 J Spieth
-8 B Horschel
-8 R Streb
-8 B Todd
-8 P Casey (Eng)
Click here for collated scores
Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (69) is alone in third on 10-under while it's a further stroke back to World No 1 Adam Scott (68).
England's Paul Casey, who had started the day with a three-shot lead, slipped back into a tie for fifth on eight-under after a four-over 76 which included a double bogey six at the last.
Augusta hero Watson has never cracked the top 20 in eight previous appearances at Muirfield Village but is now in great position to end that poor run with a win.
The only man to break 70 in all three rounds so far, Watson made his surge with a dazzling run of five birdies in six holes from the second.
A bogey at the fourth meant that added up to an outward four-under 32 but he found the back nine harder with just a single birdie at 15 and bogeys at 11 and 18.
By contrast, second-placed Langley surged on the back nine with birdies at 10, 11, 15 and 17 putting him position to bid for his first win on the PGA Tour.
Japan's Matsuyama is also seeking a first victory Stateside and bounced back well from successive bogeys at 11 and 12 to birdie 15 and 18 and get to double digits under par.
Top-ranked Scott birdied 7, 9 and 11 to keep the leaders in sight and holed a 25 footer for eagle at 15 to jump up to -10 before missing an eight-footer for par at the last.
Rory McIlroy's mixed tournament continued as he followed up his opening two rounds of 63 (which had given him the first round lead by three shots) and 78 with a three-under 69.
The Northern Irishman slipped outside the top 50 after three bogeys in his first six holes but an eagle at 11 and birdies at 17 and 18 saw him end the day in a tie for 14th.
McIlroy will start the final day six shots back although last week he came from seven behind in the last round to capture the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.