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Kaymer builds 2-shot lead at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Martin Kaymer is 18 holes away from ending five years without a victory.
He is mildly surprised. He is not the least bit stressed.
And he has plenty of company among contenders at the Memorial for whom winning has become more of a memory than a habit.
Kaymer was bogey-free Saturday at Muirfield Village for a 6-under 66 that gave him a two-shot lead over Adam Scott, setting up a final pairing of two major champions and former No. 1 players in the world in the midst of long droughts.
Four shots behind and very much in the mix are Jordan Spieth — a three-time major champion and former No. 1 — and Hideki Matsuyama, both winless since 2017. Joining them was Patrick Cantlay with a skill set that suggests he should have more than his one victory that came in the fall of 2017.
“We can all play good golf, and it’s quite nice for tomorrow because no one is really holding back,” Kaymer said. “I think you only hold back if you don’t know the situation because then you don’t know how to react and you play safe, defensive. … No one is playing like that in that group.”
Kaymer was at 15-under 201 in his first appearance at the Memorial in 10 years.
The German was on the verge of falling out of the top 200 in the world ranking until a tie for eighth in the British Masters last month. His road back began with an emphasis on the short game, and it paid off in a big way on a course that slowly getting faster.
He holed par putts of 8 feet and 20 feet on the front nine to keep within the leaders, took the lead with a wedge into 3 feet for birdie on the par-5 11th, saved par from a scary bunker shot behind the 12th green with water in front of him, and then holed a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 13 that breaks sharply over the last few feet. Spieth, playing with Kaymer, raised his putter as he watched it break, appreciating the difficulty of it.
Scott had only one blemish on the ninth hole and did enough right to pile up birdies on the par 5s and a few other holes that he’s in a spot to win again. A year ago, Scott left the Memorial and had to go through U.S. Open qualifying. While he hasn’t won, he chased Brooks Koepka all the way to the finish line at Bellerive in the PGA Championship last summer and feels comfortable where he is.
“I’m just going to play as good as I can tomorrow,” Scott said. “I like where it’s all at. I feel like the last few times I’ve been in with a chance, going back to the PGA Championship last year, I felt comfortable. So I’m not worried. I feel like this is the spot I’m meant to be. … I feel like my game is at a level that if I put it all together properly and control myself out there, I can win.”
Matsuyama won the Memorial in 2014, the start of his road to stardom. He finished strong on both nines to give himself a chance with a 64.
Spieth has put together his best three-week stretch since the end of the 2017 season, and he was most pleased that he is keeping his tee shots in play and overcame some spotty iron play with a short game that appears to have returned full force. He finished with a 15-foot par putt on the 18th.
“Just trying to hit plenty of greens in regulation and let the flat stick work itself on Sunday,” Spieth said.
Cantlay, a former No. 1 amateur in the world whose career was slowly by a back injury so severe he thought he might not return, had a chance to win the Memorial last year when he took a two-shot lead into the back nine and then failed to make another birdie, missing a playoff by one shot.
He had a 68 to give himself another chance.
Tiger Woods also started strong by holing a bunker shot, nearly holing another and making the turn in 32. But on the 10th, his fairway bunker shot didn’t get out and came back in his footprint, leading to a double bogey. That slowed momentum, and Woods finished with a bogey for a 70 that left him 11 shots out of the lead.
Kaymer looked like a world beater in the summer of 2014 when he won The Players Championship in a Sunday duel against Spieth, and then won by eight shots at Pinehurst No. 2 for his second major. Where it all went is as mysterious as the game of golf, though Kaymer spoke about his focus being on the wrong things.
He feels as though he’s back, or close enough to contend in the U.S. Open in two weeks, and Sunday could be a barometer. Either way, he was satisfied with his game and his position and what he’s done.
“Tomorrow is playing brave, playing the way I can play, enjoying the capability of my game,” he said. “Everything is there. I don’t need to hold back with anything. I don’t need to be afraid of something that could happen. I just look forward to whatever happens tomorrow.”
The Memorial
The Memorial Tournament Scores
Saturday
At Muirfield Village Golf Club
Dublin, Ohio
Purse: $9.1 million
Yardage: 7,392; Par 72
Third Round
Martin Kaymer 67-68-66 — 201
Adam Scott 71-66-66 — 203
Hideki Matsuyama 71-70-64 — 205
Patrick Cantlay 68-69-68 — 205
Jordan Spieth 66-70-69 — 205
Marc Leishman 67-71-69 — 207
Bud Cauley 67-70-70 — 207
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 68-67-72 — 207
Emiliano Grillo 69-68-71 — 208
Jason Dufner 72-69-68 — 209
Kevin Streelman 72-68-69 — 209
Justin Rose 75-63-71 — 209
Rickie Fowler 69-68-72 — 209
Troy Merritt 69-66-74 — 209
Luke Donald 72-73-65 — 210
Aaron Baddeley 72-70-68 — 210
Danny Willett 69-69-72 — 210
Joaquin Niemann 72-71-68 — 211
Nick Watney 74-68-69 — 211
Matt Jones 75-67-69 — 211
Billy Horschel 71-70-70 — 211
Brian Harman 71-69-71 — 211
Xander Schauffele 69-70-72 — 211
Vaughn Taylor 67-72-72 — 211
Steve Stricker 69-76-67 — 212
Alex Noren 73-70-69 — 212
Tiger Woods 70-72-70 — 212
Keith Mitchell 73-69-70 — 212
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 70-71-71 — 212
Andrew Putnam 68-70-74 — 212
Lucas Glover 72-72-69 — 213
Shubhankar Sharma 73-71-69 — 213
Peter Malnati 72-72-69 — 213
Ryan Armour 71-71-71 — 213
Michael Thompson 71-71-71 — 213
Russell Knox 68-73-72 — 213
Rory Sabbatini 73-71-70 — 214
Byeong Hun An 72-72-70 — 214
Brian Stuard 78-65-71 — 214
Louis Oosthuizen 73-70-71 — 214
Gary Woodland 69-71-74 — 214
Sam Ryder 69-71-74 — 214
Austin Cook 71-67-76 — 214
Tyrrell Hatton 71-72-72 — 215
Kevin Kisner 75-67-73 — 215
Corey Conners 72-69-74 — 215
Haotong Li 69-72-74 — 215
Henrik Stenson 70-70-75 — 215
Ryan Moore 65-75-75 — 215
Si Woo Kim 69-70-76 — 215
Pat Perez 75-70-71 — 216
David Lingmerth 71-74-71 — 216
J.T. Poston 72-73-71 — 216
Jason Kokrak 71-73-72 — 216
Scott Stallings 69-74-73 — 216
Max Homa 70-72-74 — 216
Jim Furyk 72-69-75 — 216
David Lipsky 70-70-76 — 216
Adam Schenk 71-74-72 — 217
Bryson DeChambeau 74-70-73 — 217
Rafa Cabrera Bello 72-71-74 — 217
Sungjae Im 72-70-75 — 217
Adam Hadwin 72-73-73 — 218
Joost Luiten 73-71-74 — 218
Matthew Fitzpatrick 73-71-74 — 218
Anirban Lahiri 67-76-75 — 218
Abraham Ancer 72-71-75 — 218
Brendan Steele 71-73-75 — 219
Joel Dahmen 72-70-77 — 219
Ted Potter, Jr. 70-73-77 — 220
K.J. Choi 76-67-77 — 220
Norman Xiong 72-73-76 — 221
Boo Weekley 74-71-79 — 224