DUBLIN, Ohio — Spencer Levin gets another crack at his first PGA Tour win, this time with a smaller lead and a lot more star power behind him.
Levin felt as though he could do no wrong Saturday at the Memorial when he chipped in for eagle, chipped in for birdie and even had a par putt swirl around the cup and fall in. That allowed him to make a few mistakes on the back nine and still post a 3-under-par 69 for a one-shot lead over Rory Sabbatini (71).
Rickie Fowler also had a 69, one of only three rounds in the 60s, and was three shots behind.
Fowler will play in the final round with Tiger Woods, a four-time Memorial champion who is very much in the picture. Woods had a share of the lead early, but fell back with a sloppy short game on the back nine and had to settle for 73. He was four shots back.
Levin, a self-styled Californian who rarely hides his emotions, had a six-shot lead going into the final round of the Phoenix Open this year until he squandered it away on the back nine and wound up losing to a remarkable comeback by Kyle Stanley.
What did he learn?
“People have been asking me that question, and I don’t know yet,” Levin said. “I’ll be able to answer that tomorrow.”
Muirfield Village figures to be a far stronger test, not only the course but who is chasing him down.
A strong wind and firm conditions, not to mention a few pins tucked near the edges of the greens, made for difficult play. Only 14 of the 71 players broke par.
That’s one reason this tournament is far from over. The other reason comes from the six players right behind him. All of them have either won majors, regular PGA Tour events or played in the Presidents Cup.
Levin was at 8-under 208 and will play for the second day in a row with Sabbatini.
Woods and Fowler will play together for the second time in a month, this time with a little more riding on their scores. Ryo Ishikawa, using a local caddie from Muirfield Village, ran off three consecutive birdies on the back nine and finished with 71. The Japanese star was in a group at 213 that included Henrik Stenson (71) and Jonathan Byrd (72).
Vijay Singh had the other 69 and was in the group at 214, six shots behind.