Sullivan contending at Memorial despite rocky finish

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Despite a late tumble from the top of the leaderboard, Andy Sullivan was all smiles after the third round of the Memorial.

The Englishman is making his first stroke-play start on the PGA Tour, and had never even been to the U.S. before last month’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship. After a second-round 64, Sullivan grabbed the lead midway through his third round before finding the water on Nos. 14 and 16.

It added up to an even-par 72, and at 10 under Sullivan heads into the final round at Muirfield Village in a tie for fifth, five shots behind Justin Rose.

“I hit good iron shots into the first few holes, and then I sort of came in in an ambulance,” Sullvan said. “Few loose swings and a couple mental blips there.”

The 29-year-old has plenty to play for in the final round. A win would carry with it a three-year exemption, and a top-four finish will likely earn him enough FedEx Cup points to merit special temporary membership. Then there’s the world rankings, where Sullivan currently sits at No. 58. A high finish could cement his spot inside the top 60 and punch his ticket to the U.S. Open, for which he is not yet qualified.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” he said. “For me it’s (been) my whole career to just go out and have fun, and I’m not going to stop doing it now. I love playing the game of golf and I’m going to show that.”

Sullivan won one of the more interesting hole-in-one prizes last year on the European Tour when his ace at the KLM Open netted him a trip to space, but don’t expect him to hop in a rocket anytime soon.

“Not a chance,” he said. “No, just not for me. I’m in space most nights, so I don’t really need to visit.”