Bubba Watson has never been so happy at the Memorial. It helps to be in the lead.
Watson ran off three straight birdies on the front nine at Dublin, Ohio, to overtake Paul Casey and wound up with his third straight round in the 60s on Saturday, a three-under-par 69 that gave him a one-shot lead at Muirfield Village and a chance to win for the third time this year.
In eight previous Memorial appearances, Watson has never finished better than a tie for 23rd.
"I have a shot," said Watson, who has won this year at Riviera and Augusta National. "I'd like the same score tomorrow and let the boys beat me if they can beat me."
Plenty of them should have a chance. With a bogey on the final hole, Watson's lead shrunk to one shot over Scott Langley, who had a 67 to make it an all-southpaw final pairing Sunday. Langley has not been in the final group since his rookie debut two years ago in Honolulu.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan made birdie on his last hole for a 69 and was two shots behind. Adam Scott, the No. 1 player in the world and coming off a win at the Colonial last week, made eagle on the 15th that sparked another surge up the leaderboard. With a bogey on the last hole, he had a 68 and still was only three shots behind.
Casey started Saturday with a three-shot lead, but that was gone in three holes and he ended with a double bogey for a 76. Casey still was in range, however, part of a large group at eight under that included Jordan Spieth (67), Charl Schwartzel (67) and Byron Nelson winner Brendon Todd (69).
Lewis could be No. 1
Stacy Lewis moved into position to take the top spot in the world, shooting a bogey-free eight-under 63 to match the 36-hole record in the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Galloway Township, N.J.
The second-ranked Lewis had a 12-under 130 total on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club
A victory Sunday would guarantee Lewis the No. 1 ranking, which Inbee Park has held for 59 straight weeks after taking it from Lewis. Park, playing in the windier afternoon session, had a 70 to fall six strokes behind Lewis.
Christina Kim was a stroke back after 67.
Tight Champions field
Doug Garwood shot a seven-under 65 to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the Champions Tour's Principal Charity Classic at Des Moines. Garwood had an 11-under 133 total at Wakonda Club.
Michael Allen, the Allianz Championship winner in February, was second after a 66. Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Pernice Jr. were nine under. Calcavecchia had a 69, and Pernice shot 67.
Garwood is a conditionally exempt player making only his fourth start of the year. His best finish was a tie for 25th in the Allianz.
Second-ranked Henrik Stenson shot an eight-under 64 to share the third-round lead with England's Eddie Pepperell at the Nordea Masters at Malmo, Sweden.
Stenson had seven birdies along with an eagle on the seventh hole and a lone bogey, leaving the Swede at 13-under 203 on PGA Sweden National's Lakes Course.
Pepperell shot a 65 that included eight birdies and one bogey.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times