Emiliano Grillo and Matt Kuchar falter after weather delay at Memorial
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/06/16 7:54pm
Matt Kuchar and Emiliano Grillo were left to rue a two-hour weather delay at The Memorial as the third round concluded in fading light with three players tied for the 54-hole lead.
The PGA Tour decided against bringing the tee times forward despite the threat of adverse weather late in the afternoon and the decision backfired as eight players remained on the course when play was halted, but the torrential rain relented and the action resumed at 7:15pm local time.
Kuchar and Grillo were locked together at 15 under par, but the interruption proved costly as Grillo returned to double-bogey the 17th before Kuchar, who had reeled off four birdies in five holes before the suspension, bogeyed the last.
That resulted in Kuchar falling into a share of the lead with William McGirt and Gary Woodland, while Jason Day is the closest challenger of the "big three" although a double-bogey at the 18th left him three shots off the pace, but Rory McIlroy is five back after an erratic 70.
McGirt matched Dustin Johnson's opening-day 64, but he looked unlikely to retain the clubhouse lead when Grillo cruised to the turn in 33 with birdies at the second, fifth and seventh, and he picked up another with a 20-foot putt at the 13th before blotting his card at the next after pulling his tee-shot into a hazard on the left.
The Argentine bounced back with a birdie at 15, and he had just holed out for a cast-iron par at the short 16th when the hooters echoed around the course, but a poor drive on the resumption left him unable to reach the 17th green in two and he took three to get down from the fringe to walk off with a six.
Grillo parred the last to complete a 70 and stay at 13 under, while Muirfield Village specialist Kuchar was uncharacteristically erratic over his first 10 holes, dropping four shots around a run of three consecutive birdies from the fifth.
But the 2013 champion revived his challenge with a birdie at the long 11th and began to pepper the pin with his precise iron play which yielded further gains at 13, 14 and 15 before the threat of lightning forced him back to the clubhouse.
Returning to the 16th after the delay, Kuchar did well to save par from 10 feet and missed a good birdie chance from similar range at the next, but he dumped his drive into a fairway bunker at the last and dropped his fifth shot of a rollercoaster 70.
McGirt made the first significant move of the third day and roared up the leaderboard when he followed three birdies over the first four holes with a stunning 245-yard second to three feet at the fifth which set up an eagle-three.
He continued his charge with three birdies in five holes after the turn before he carelessly three-putted the 16th green, but he responded with an excellent birdie at 17 after clipping his approach to 10 feet from a fairway bunker.
Big hitting Gary Woodland is alongside McGirt on 14 under after he kept a bogey off his card in a 69, carding birdies at the seventh, 11th and 14th to put himself in contention for a first PGA Tour win since the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open.
Jon Curran pitched in from thick rough for an unlikely birdie at the 17th just moments before the suspension, and he returned to par the last an join Adam Hadwin on 13 under after the Canadian had earlier completed a 67 which included a run of three birdies and an eagle over a five-hole stretch on the outward half.
Johnson is also just one off the lead after the weather delay worked in his favour, making bogey at 17 before scurrying for cover before he returned to hit a superb approach to two feet at the last to set up a closing birdie for a 68.
Danish veteran Soren Kjeldsen vaulted 36 places up the leaderboard with a superb, early 64, carding four birdies in an outward 32 before adding four more in five holes from the 11th to claim a share of the lead with McGirt.
Kjeldsen failed to get up and down from sand at the 17th, but he got the shot back at the last as he knocked his second from close to 190 yards to 12 feet and rolled in the putt to return to 12 under.
Day took the gloss off an excellent round when he double-bogeyed the last - coming up short with his second and seeing his first chip from an awkward lie roll back off the front of the green.
Day's 68 was two better than McIlroy, who had two sixes on his card and also found water twice as he closed on nine under, while overnight leader Brendan Steele got off the worst-possible start when he bogeyed the second and doubled the next before salvaging a 75 with a birdie at 17.