Spencer Levin gets another crack at his first PGA Tour win today, this time with a smaller lead and a lot more star power behind him.
It was as if Levin could do no wrong Saturday at the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio – 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 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 pairing 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 four shots back with a sloppy short game on the back nine that cost him a 73.
Levin, a self-styled Californian who rarely hides his emotions, had a six-shot lead starting the final round of the Phoenix Open in February until he squandered it on the back nine and wound up losing to a remarkable comeback by Gig Harbor’s 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.”
A strong wind and firm conditions – not to mention a few pins tucked near the edges of the greens – made for difficult scoring. Only 14 of the 71 players managed to break par.
Levin was at 8-under 208 and for the second straight day will be paired with Sabbatini, two animated players in their own way.
Woods and Fowler will play together for the second time in a month – they were in the same group the opening two rounds of The Players Championship in May.
Ryo Ishikawa, using a local caddie from Muirfield Village, ran off three straight birdies on the back nine and finished with a 71. The Japanese star was in a group at 213 that included Henrik Stenson (71) and Jonathan Byrd (72).
“Four shots is definitely manageable around this golf course, considering the conditions and what they’re going to be tomorrow,” Woods said. “A lot of guys are still in this ballgame.”
Stacy Lewis shot her second straight 6-under 65 to tie the tournament 36-hole record at the ShopRite LPGA Classic at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township, N.J. Lewis’ two-day total of 130 leads Anna Nordqvist (67) by six strokes. … B.J. Staten’s 5-under 66 gave him a three-round total of 13-under 200 and a one-shot lead over Jim Renner at the Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, N.C. Former UW golfer Alex Prugh (70) was five shots back, and Olympia’s Andres Gonzales (72) was at 4-under 209. … Jay Haas carries a three-shot lead over Larry Mize into the final round of the Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa, after shooting a bogey-free 6-under 65. … Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee shot a 4-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Wales Open in Newport, Wales. The Netherlands’ Joost Luiten (64) and England’s Ross Fisher (71) were second.