DUBLIN, Ohio — Former Georgia Tech All-American Matt Kuchar thrived in tough conditions that sent Tiger Woods to the worst nine holes of his PGA Tour career Saturday in the morning.
Kuchar survived a nasty combination of swirling wind and fast greens at Muirfield Village for 2-under-par 70, giving him a two-shot lead over Kevin Chappell and ex-Clemson star Kyle Stanley going into the final round.
“It was a bit of survival,” Kuchar said. “I was fortunate to make a handful of birdies. I think anytime you make a birdie in these conditions, you feel like you’re really up on the field here. Most of these holes, you’re looking at just getting out with a par.”
Woods didn’t get away with anything. Going for his sixth win at the Memorial, and his fourth victory in his past five tournaments, Woods had two double bogeys and a triple bogey on the back nine (his first nine of the day) for 44, breaking by one shot his highest nine-hole total as a pro. And he shot that without a penalty stroke.
“The conditions were tough and when I missed it cost me,” Woods said through a PGA Tour media official. “I caught the wrong gusts at the wrong time, made a couple bad swings and all in all, it just went the wrong way.”
LPGA TOUR: In Galloway Township, N.J., Shanshan Feng shot 4-under-par 67 before the wind picked up and grabbed a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Feng, whose caddie is Augusta native Mercer Leftwich III, is at 6-under 136 on the wind-whipped Bay Course at the Stockton Hotel and Golf Club.
First-round co-leader Moriya Jutanugarn and Haeji Kang share second at 3-under.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Des Moines, Iowa, Duffy Waldorf shot 5-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead at the Principal Charity Classic.
Waldorf has an 8-under 136 total. Bart Bryant and Jay Don Blake are tied for second.
Augusta native Larry Mize had 73 and is at 145.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Stockholm, Mikko Ilonen has a two-shot lead over Alexander Noren going into the final round of the Nordea Masters.
The 33-year-old Finn shot 7-under-par 65 in wet conditions to move to 18-under 198. Noren posted 64.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Potomac, Md., ex-Georgia star Hudson Swafford fell back in the Mid-Atlantic Championship.
Swafford, who led after 36 holes with rounds of 67-66, shot 7-over-par 77 in the third round and tumbled down the leaderboard. He’s now tied for 13th, five shots behind co-leaders Chad Collins and Michael Putnam, who both shot 70.
Aiken’s Kevin Kisner shot 73 and is tied for 21st place, seven shots back.