Goggin does enough for a three-shot lead

DUBLIN, Ohio --- Mathew Goggin kept birdies and mistakes to a minimum on a long Saturday at the Memorial, shooting 1-under-par 71, good enough to build a three-shot lead as he tries to get his first PGA Tour win.


Muirfield Village changed its character, but only slightly, thanks to a 2 1/2-hour rain delay that led to long shadows late in the third round. What didn't change was the rough and difficult conditions, and Goggin didn't have to do much to keep his lead.

He was at 8-under-par 208, the highest 54-hole leading score at Jack Nicklaus' event since Greg Norman won a rain-shortened event in 1990 at even-par 216.

Goggin has said since opening with 65 that a first- and second-round lead didn't mean too much. And now?

"Expectations are rising," he said. "Three shots in front, I expect to win."

But he doesn't expect it to be easy, not at a Muirfield Village course that resembles a U.S. Open from the 1990s, and not with five players stacked up behind him.

Former Masters champion Mike Weir matched the best round of the day, a bogey-free 68 that put him at 5-under and in the final group with Goggin, who has never had a 54-hole lead on tour.

Matt Kuchar was among those going backward until holing out with a wedge for eagle on the 15th, following that with a birdie on the 16th and posting 71 to join the large group in a tie for second.

Among them was Justin Rose (70), who captured the European Tour Order of Merit last year but has yet to win on this side of the Atlantic; Jerry Kelly, whose superb ball-striking was wasted by 34 putts in his round of 73; and Kenny Perry, whose spirits were lifted with an 18-foot birdie on the last hole for 74.

Perry, a two-time champion at the Memorial who has squandered two good chances to win this month, missed six putts inside 10 feet on the back nine as he slid further away from Goggin. But the birdie on No. 18 kept him in the game.

"The guys at 3-under are in this golf tournament," Perry said. "If Mathew has an off day tomorrow, it brings the whole field in. It's definitely his tournament to win. If he shoots 75, then the door's wide open for everybody."

Goggin's last victory came 10 years ago in the Australasian Tour Championship.

The 33-year-old Australian was tied with Perry to start the third round, and, as usual, he got out of the blocks quickly with a 35-foot birdie on the opening hole and a wedge that steadied itself in the wind and landed 5 feet away on No. 3.

Evans' Vaughn Taylor started the third round tied for 18th at even-par. But a round of 2-under-par 70 helped him ascend to 11th, six shots back of Goggin.



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