By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 02/06/18 11:58pm
Justin Rose was thankful for a hot putter as he remained in contention for back-to-back wins with a third-round 69 at The Memorial
Justin Rose kept himself in with a great chance to become world No 1 as he ended the third round of The Memorial just four shots behind leader Bryson DeChambeau.
Rose would have been two shots closer had it not been for a scrappy finish to his three-under 69, while Tiger Woods is one further back and Rory McIlroy propelled himself 58 places up the leaderboard after a superb 64 – the low round of the day.
Bryson DeChambeau leads the way after 54 holes
Back-to-back PGA Tour wins for Rose would see him replace Justin Thomas at the top of the world rankings on Monday, but he will have to come from behind to win at Muirfield Village for the first time since clinching his maiden title in the US eight years ago.
DeChambeau, who has posted three top-four finishes in his last six starts, will go into the final round with a one-stroke lead after he made light of the difficulties of the closing six holes with birdies at 13, 14, 16 and 18 capping a bogey-free 66.
That proved enough for the outright lead when overnight co-leader Kyle Stanley bogeyed the 18th to return an erratic 70, leaving him one off the pace alongside Patrick Cantlay and teenage rookie Joaquin Niemann.
Cantlay had earlier provided plenty of fireworks in his 66, the highlight being a hole-in-one with a perfect seven-iron at the 185-yard eighth, and he also eagled the 15th before he pulled his drive into water at the 18th and could not avoid his second bogey of the day.
Rose enjoyed a sparkling run on the front nine as he reeled off four birdies in five holes from the third, and the in-form Englishman hit back from a bogey at the 12th with back-to-back birdies lifting him to 12 under.
But his long-game became ragged over the closing holes as he scrapped his way to a par at the 15th thanks to a good sand-save, although he could not get up-and-down from greenside bunkers at the 16th and 17th before avoiding further damage with a delightful pitch and putt for a four at the last.
Tiger Woods three-putted the 16th and 18th
Woods also faltered late in his round having earlier thrilled the fans once again with an outward 31 featuring three birdies and an eagle at the seventh, before the putting struggles he experienced late on Friday resurfaced after the turn.
He got to 11 under with another birdie at 15 following a series of missed chances, but he three-putted the 16th and 18th greens to card a frustrating 68, which he described as the highest score he could have shot on the day.
Rory McIlroy charges up The Memorial leaderboard with a stunning eight-under 64 featuring a hole-out for eagle and a close-call for a hole-in-one
The five-time champion is five off the lead and one ahead of a resurgent McIlroy, who ignited his charge early when he birdied the second and third before holing a perfect bunker escape for an eagle at the long fifth.
He picked up another shot at seven before adding three straight birdies from the 11th, but he was unable to add to his tally as he parred home to stay at eight under for the round, and the tournament, and he was signing his card before the final groups had teed off.
Rory McIlroy reflects on his superb third-round 64 at The Memorial and is happy with the chance to get two more rounds under his belt before the US Open
Rose could afford to finish second and still claim the world No 1 spot depending on where current incumbent Thomas and Dustin Johnson end up.
Thomas, who dethroned Johnson after his strong finish at TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago, is making a good job of trying to hang on to his status after a 68 got him to seven under, but Johnson lost ground with a 72 that left him where he started the weekend – six under par.
Due to the threat of bad weather on Sunday, live coverage from Muirfield Village will now commence at 1:30pm via the Red Button on Sky Sports Golf.