Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kuchar leads PGA's Memorial; Woods shoots 44 on back nine

DUBLIN, Ohio — Matt Kuchar couldn't think of conditions more difficult than Saturday in the Memorial, and he had plenty of evidence.

The swirling wind that made it difficult to pull the right club. Fast greens that led to 65 three-putts in the third round alone. And 44 on the back nine for Tiger Woods, the worst nine-hole score of his career.

"I think most of us would tend to be surprised anytime Tiger shoots a number like that, but a lot more understandable in these conditions," Kuchar said after hanging on for 2-under 70 that gave him a two-shot lead.

"If you're not on good form, these conditions are really going to beat you up."

Woods rallied on the front nine to salvage 79, matching his second-worst score on the PGA Tour. That wasn't even the highest score on a tough day at Muirfield Village. Jordan Spieth shot 45 on the front nine for 82, and Zach Johnson and Justin Hicks each had 81.

Kevin Chappell matched the best round of the day with 4-under 68, leaving him two shots out of the lead, along with Kyle Stanley, who had 70. Chappell loves having a chance to win his first PGA Tour event, which isn't to suggest it was fun getting to that position.

"I guess it's like a prize fighter," he said. "He enjoys winning, but I don't know if he enjoys getting hit that much."

Kuchar was at 8-under 208, among 10 players separated by four shots.

"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 fourth in his past five tournaments overall, Woods had two double bogeys and triple bogey on the back nine.

"The conditions were tough and when I missed, it cost me," Woods said through a PGA Tour media official after storming past reporters without commenting. "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: Shanshan Feng, who last year became the first Chinese player to win a tour title and a major event in capturing the LPGA Championship, shot 4-under 67 and grabbed a three-shot lead heading into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J. The round gave Feng 6-under 136 total. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (7-over 149) and Kristy McPherson (13-over 155) missed the cut.

CHAMPIONS: Duffy Waldorf shot 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. Waldorf had 8-under 136 total. Bart Bryant and Jay Don Blake were tied for second. Bryant had 64 and Blake 66. Russ Cochran was 6 under after 67.

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