Bryson DeChambeau was simply another name on the leaderboard for most of the day, with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Joaquin Niemann of Chile grabbing the spotlight.
Then DeChambeau, the 24-year-old from Clovis in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley, birdied four of his last six holes to shoot a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 and take a one-stroke lead over Niemann, Patrick Cantlay and Kyle Stanley after three rounds of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
“I played great, obviously, ecstatic about where I am, (but) I just keep thinking about those two three-footers I missed (on the ninth and 15th holes),” said DeChambeau, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 John Deere Classic.
“We’ll see what tomorrow brings. We’re going off early, try to beat some weather. Hopefully the weather doesn’t show up and hopefully it doesn’t get any softer. … Hit it pretty well for having my, what I’d would call B to B-plus game, and putting it beautifully this week. Even though I missed those little 3-footers, I still think I’m rolling it really well and have a great chance for tomorrow.”
DeChambeau, who captured the 2015 NCAA individual championship while at SMU added the U.S. Amateur title later that year, recorded a 54-hole score of 14-under 202.
Cantlay, of Los Alamitos and UCLA, made a hole in one from 187 yards on the eighth hole and sank a four-foot eagle putt on the 15th in another 66.
Niemann holed a 48-foot eagle putt at No. 7 and finished off a 70 with a 12-foot birdie putt, while Stanley was tied for the lead before closing out a 70 with a bogey.
Niemann, the former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, is trying to become the fifth player to win a tournament that is part of the PGA Tour at the age of 19. The four who have done it are Johnny McDermott (1911 U.S. Open), “Lighthorse Harry” Cooper (1923 Galveston Open), Ralph Guldahl (1931 Santa Monica Open) and Jordan Spieth (2012 John Deere Classic)
Byeong-Hun An of South Korea is two behind in fourth after a bogey-free 69, followed by Justin Rose of England, who is six back after another 69, while Woods totaled 68 and is another stroke down in a tie for seventh with 10th-ranked Hideki Matsuyama (71) of Japan, Whee Kim (67) of South Korea and J.B. Holmes (71).
Woods, who has won the Memorial five times, sank a 14-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole while shooting 5-under 31 on the front and was tied for the lead before making bogeys on the 15th and 18th holes to card a 68.
The sixth-ranked McIlroy is tied for 11th after a bogey-free 64 that included a 38-foot bunker shot for an eagle on the fifth hole, while top-ranked Justin Thomas recorded a 68 that included a 24-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole, and is in a tie for 21st that includes seventh-ranked Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who had a nine-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole in another 68.
Second-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 72 and is in a tie for 28 that includes eighth-ranked Jason Day of Australia, who struggled to a 74, and Phil Mickelson, who came in at 70.
For complete results, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.