DUBLIN, OHIO – The cheers kept coming across Muirfield Village, even after Tiger Woods was done making another run up the leaderboard at the Memorial.
Patrick Cantlay made two eagles, including a hole-in-one.
Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile, took the lead with a 50-foot eagle putt and fell out of the lead when his bid for another eagle landed in a tiny corner of a meandering creek.
Bryson DeChambeau ended an action-packed Saturday by making one of only six birdies on the par-3 16th hole, saving par with a tough flop shot from behind the 17th green and finishing off a 6-under 66 with a 9-iron into 5 feet.
That gave him a one-shot lead going into the final round, which features Woods in the mix at Muirfield Village for the first time in six years.
“Look, I just want to birdie every hole,” DeChambeau said. “That’s all we’re trying to do out there.”
The course is so soft and vulnerable, it seems as though that’s what it might take.
Woods certainly appears up to the task. He hit the ball so pure on Friday that he missed five putts inside 7 feet and still shot 67. He had just as much control on Saturday and at one point was tied for the lead. Then he three-putted two of the last three holes, missing a par putt just over 3 feet on the 18th, and all he had to show for it was a 68.
“I know I shot 68 today, but again, that’s probably the highest score I could have possibly shot,” said Woods, who was five shots behind. “I played really, really well. I played beautifully, actually. Had total control of what I was doing out there and just didn’t finish it off.”
Hideki Matsuyama fell further off the pace and sits five strokes behind in a four-way tie for seventh after carding a 1-under-par 71.
Matsuyama, who ended the first round tied for the lead, nearly canceled out an eagle and four birdies with five bogeys to land at a 9-under 207 total.
“My shots were so bad that it’s difficult to find a single thing I did well today,” said Matsuyama, who began the day three shots off the pace. “I’ll give myself a score of -100 for my performance today.”
Cantlay, Niemann and Kyle Stanley are tied for second, one shot behind DeChambeau.
Yusaku Miyazato is at 2-under in 58th, while Yuta Ikeda was one of eight golfers who made the cut but did not finish, ending at 217 after shooting 1-over 73.
Woods is a five-time winner at the Memorial, his last title coming in 2012. This is the third time this year Woods has gone into the final round within five shots of the lead. Still steaming from his last putt, he was asked if his game was good enough to win.
“Well, I was at 11-under par, and I had wasted a bunch of shots the last two days and I was 4-over par in the first round,” he said. “So you do the math.”
The math favors physics-minded DeChambeau going into Sunday, but not by much.
He was at 14-under 202, and even DeChambeau couldn’t help but look back at two short birdies that got away.
“Just keep thinking about those two 3-footers I missed,” said DeChambeau, who was at 14-under 202. “I played great, obviously. Ecstatic about where I am.”