Saturday was Bubba’s world at Muirfield Village Country Club, as Bubba Watson tore up the front nine, then simply kept it between the ditches, on his way to a slim one stroke lead heading into the final round of Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament in Dublin, OH. Watson, the other “lefty” on the PGA Tour, had five birdies and one bogey on the front nine and made the turn in 32. Even after slipping to 37 on the back nine, Watson still found himself 12-under for the tournament and holding a one-shot lead over Scott Langley after 54 holes.
“I just kept my head down…just grinding away, realizing how blessed I am to be playing on the PGA Tour,” a philosophical Watson told CBS after his round, adding “when you have a bad shot, it’s pretty good. You’re here at the Memorial, playing at Jack’s tournament. A bogey really doesn’t mean very much.” Watson has had a good year, with two wins already at Riviera and The Masters, and two second-place finishes. With his 69 on Saturday, Bubba has scored in the 60s in all three rounds of the tournament.
Langley had a clean round on Saturday with five birdies and no bogeys. At 11-under and in sole possession of second place, he will play in the final group with Watson on Sunday. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is another shot back at 10-under par. Those are the golfers who have the best chance to overtake Bubba Watson’s slim lead on the final day at Memorial.
There are some other big names who might be within striking distance on Sunday. Adam Scott, the World No. 1 player, is only four shots back at 8-under. Scott came back to win last week at the Crown Plaza Invitational, and is looking to become the first back-to-back winner on the PGA Tour since Rory McIlroy did it in 2012. Also at 8-under par is the 36-hole leader Paul Casey, who began the day with a three-shot lead. Casey stumbled to a 76 on Saturday, but is still within striking distance, especially considering he shot 66 on the first two days. Jordan Spieth is another golfer who is just four strokes back, and expected to be in the hunt on Sunday.
McIlroy should not be counted out either. After seemingly shooting himself out of the event with 78 on Friday, the Irishman recovered nicely with a 69 on Saturday and finds himself six shots out of first place. McIlroy overcame a seven-shot deficit last week to win the BMW Championship in Virginia Water, England.
Even though he is 10 strokes back going into Sunday, many eyes will be on Phil Mickelson, who has been answering questions this weekend which have nothing to do with golf. Mickelson has been linked to an investigation into insider trading along with billionaire Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambling icon Billy Walters. In talking with the media today after his round for the first time since the news broke on Friday, Mickelson was not able to shine a lot of light on the subject except to say “I have done absolutely nothing wrong. That’s why I have been fully cooperating with the FBI agents and I’m happy to do so in the future too.” He added, “Hopefully it will be soon, but for right now I really can’t talk much about it.”
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky