Korea’s Si Woo Kim overcame two double bogeys for a gutsy 1-under 71 and earned the joint third round lead at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday alongside World. No. 3 Rory McIlroy and David Lipsky on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Kim fought brilliantly at Muirfield Village Golf Club with six birdies off-setting his doubles and another bogey as he took aim at a second PGA TOUR title of the season and his career fifth win. He will be looking to emulate countryman K.J. Choi’s victory in 2007 at the US$20 million showpiece hosted by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Reigning FedExCup champion McIlroy, who is also chasing a second win of the season, signed for a 70 which featured four birdies and two bogeys while Lipsky stayed on course for a maiden win after salvaging a 72 following a topsy-turvy day which saw him trade four birdies against as many bogeys, three of which he conceded over the last six holes.
The trio, who lead on 6-under 210, are one shot ahead of a group of five players – Denny McCarthy (68), Viktor Hovland (69), Wyndham Clark (70), Lee Hodges (70) and Mark Hubbard (72). Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who was solo second through 36 holes, carded a 75 which included a triple bogey on the par-3 12th hole and enters the final round in tied ninth place, two off the pace.
“I feel I hit a lot of great tee shots and a lot of great iron shots and hopefully it goes in with the putter. But I feel great, especially making two doubles and shoot under par on this course, I’ll take it,” said Kim, who earned his career fifth 54-hole lead/co-lead on TOUR.
The Korean star, who is ranked 10th on the FedExCup points list, made birdies on Hole Nos. 1, 4, 7, 12, 13 and 15 but rued three costly water balls, including finding the penalty area twice on the par-5 11th hole. He also made double on the third, albeit in unfortunate circumstances when a seemingly perfect tee shot ended in a divot which he subsequently pushed his approach into the hazard.
“On 3, I hit a great tee shot with a 3-iron and right down the middle. I was in a divot. So I tried to hit that ball contact first and pushed it a little into the water. That makes double. Number 11, I tried to get on in two but the wind was kind of right-to-left and got it and it went into the hazard. Third shot into the hazard. So that makes double,” he said.
Kim is prepared for another fight on Sunday after landing in the final pairing alongside McIlroy as he seeks a first multi-win season on the PGA TOUR. “(The greens) It’s firm. Rough’s long. It’s hard to keep the concentration. Every hole is like (there’s a tendency to) make bogey or double. So, if I had to miss, you got to take a bogey,” said Kim, whose four wins include the 2017 PLAYERS Championship.
He will find added confidence from the fact he has not missed the cut in eight starts at Muirfield Village, with a best of T9 in 2021. This week, Kim has been rock-steady where he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green through three rounds.
Countryman Sungjae Im put himself in contention for the US$3.6 million winner’s cheque and 550 FedExCup points after a fine 67 propelled him to a share of 14th place, just three back of the co-leaders. Im sank seven birdies against two bogeys as he seeks a third PGA TOUR win.
McIlroy, a 23-time PGA TOUR winner, was in a buoyant mood after saving par from eight feet at the last to be tied for the lead. ” I’ve done a good job this week of keeping the ball in play,” said McIlroy.
“What I need to do tomorrow is just stick to that gameplan. Not to try to get ahead of myself, not to get too aggressive.”
Third-Round Notes – Saturday, June 3, 2023
Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 89. Wind NE 10-18 mph.
Rory McIlroy 72-68-70—210 (-6)
Si Woo Kim 71-68-71—210 (-6)
David Lipsky 69-69-72—210 (-6)
Denny McCarthy 71-72-68—211 (-5)
Viktor Hovland 71-71-69—211 (-5)
Wyndham Clark 70-71-70—211 (-5)
Lee Hodges 72-69-70—211 (-5)
Mark Hubbard 69-70-72—211 (-5)