With the round of the day, a 4-under 68, and four consecutive birdies on his back nine, Jon Rahm stormed into the lead at the Memorial Tournament. He’ll take a four-shot lead over Ryan Palmer into the final round, when conditions figure to get even firmer and faster at a fiery Muirfield Village. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes in Dublin, Ohio:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-12), Ryan Palmer (-8), Tony Finau (-8), Danny Willett (-6), Henrik Norlander (-5), Jason Day (-5)
What it means: Rahm is seeking his fourth PGA Tour title, his 11th worldwide victory and the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. With a victory Sunday, the 25-year-old would supplant Rory McIlroy atop the OWGR and take over as world No. 1 for the first time. He is 0-for-2 closing 54-hole leads on Tour, having come up short at the 2019 Players, when he shot a Sunday 76, and earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open, when he was caught by Marc Leishman. Playing with Rahm is the final pairing will be the man who helped him to his last PGA Tour victory: Palmer, his partner at the 2019 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. After a 1-over 73, the 43-year-old is now eyeing his first solo Tour victory in a decade, since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. The only player within five shots is Finau, the 36-hole leader who melted in the heat with two back-nine double bogeys en route to a 73 of his own.
Round of the day: Rahm vaulted into the lead with a 68 on a day when the scoring average at a baked-out Muirfield Village was more than a shot and a half over par at 73.70. Even par through his first 12 holes, Rahm ripped off four consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-16 to go up four through 54 holes.
Rahm’s 68 was matched by just one other player, Brendon Todd, who jumped up 48 places into a tie for 18th at 1 under par for the week.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Cantlay played himself out of contention with a disastrous close Saturday. The defending champion was 7 under for the week through 13 holes before finishing his third round double bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey-bogey to shoot 1-over 73 and slip all the way back to 3 under for the tournament.
Shots of the day: These efforts from Jordan Spieth, both from downhill lies out of the rough:
Tiger Tracking: Appearing in much less discomfort, Tiger Woods went off early and rebounded from Friday’s 76 with a Saturday 71, carding four birdies against three bogeys. The five-time Memorial champ is tied for 37th at 2 over for the week.