You Oughta Know: Kuchar takes lead into Sunday


DUBLIN, Ohio – After firm conditions and swirling winds turned the third round of The Memorial Tournament into a test of survival, several top-ranked players remain in contention with just 18 holes to go. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final day at Muirfield Village, where Matt Kuchar is staked to a two-shot lead:

• After just his third over-par score in 27 rounds this year, defending champion Tiger Woods is in jeopardy of recording a career-worst finish at Muirfield Village. The five-time champ will begin Sunday tied for 69th, needing to improve upon that position to better the T-67 result he earned in his first Memorial start in 1997. Woods carded a 7-over 79 in the third round, including a career-worst 8-over 44 on his outward nine, a result that is even more surprising considering that he has not finished outside the top 25 in this event since tying for 51st in 1998.

• For the second consecutive week, Matt Kuchar holds sole possession of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour. Last week at Colonial, the former Players champion led by one shot after three rounds but was passed Sunday by eventual champion Boo Weekley, relegating Kuchar to a runner-up finish. This week, he holds a two-shot advantage heading into the final round, in position to join Woods as the only multiple winners thus far this season after already hoisting the trophy at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

• Even should he falter, Kuchar is likely headed for his fifth consecutive top-10 result at Muirfield Village dating back to 2008, having tied for second in his most recent appearance in 2011. Such steady results on a difficult venue are remarkable but not exactly surprising considering Kuchar’s overall consistency; since the start of the 2010 season, the former Georgia Tech standout has notched 35 top-10 finishes, more than any other PGA Tour player across that same time span.

• Kevin Chappell enters the final round tied for second place, two shots behind Kuchar and in position to contend for his first career PGA Tour victory. Should he accomplish the feat, Chappell would become just the fifth player to record his maiden win at Muirfield Village, joining the ranks of Keith Fergus (1981), Kenny Perry (1991), Tom Lehman (1994) and Justin Rose (2010).

• Both four shots off the pace with 18 holes to go, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel each retain an outside chance at becoming just the eighth international winner of the Memorial in the 37-year history of the event, with Rose (2010) the lone non-American to claim the trophy since 2008. While both would like to add a trophy Sunday to place next to their respective green jackets, Scott and Schwartzel are also hoping to add a positive result upon which to build in October, when they will likely return to Muirfield Village for the Presidents Cup as members of the International team.

• Despite squandering a lead he held after 36 holes, Bill Haas will begin the final round tied for fourth alongside Rose and Australian Matt Jones, hoping to build upon an already successful 2013 campaign. Like Kuchar, Haas has five top-10 finishes to his credit this season, though none since a tie for 10th at the Shell Houston Open in March. Should he notch another top-10 result Sunday at Muirfield Village, the former FedEx Cup champion would tie Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker for the most such finishes this year on the PGA Tour.