Tracker: Tiger fires 73, four back of Levin
Saturday, June 2, 2012
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Spencer Levin gets another crack at his first PGA Tour win, this time with a smaller lead and a lot more star power behind him.
The Memorial: Round 3
Take a look at these photos of Tiger Woods and others from the third round of the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.
PHOTOS: Happy 39th Birthday, Tiger!
Photos from the career of the golf world's most famous player.
Levin felt as though he could do no wrong Saturday at the Memorial when he chipped in for eagle, chipped in for birdie and even had a par putt swirl around the cup and fall in. That allowed him to make a few mistakes on the back nine and still post a 3-under 69 for a one-shot lead over Rory Sabbatini (71).
Rickie Fowler also had a 69, one of only three rounds in the 60s, and was three shots behind.
Fowler will play in the final round with Tiger Woods, a four-time Memorial champion who is very much in the picture. Woods had a share of the lead early, but fell back with a sloppy short game on the back nine and had to settle for a 73. He was four shots back.
Levin, a self-styled Californian who rarely hides his emotions, had a six-shot lead going into the final round of the Phoenix Open this year until he squandered it away on the back nine and wound up losing to a remarkable comeback by Kyle Stanley.
What did he learn?
"People have been asking me that question, and I don't know yet," Levin said. "I'll be able to answer that tomorrow."
Muirfield Village figures to be a far stronger test, not only the course but who is chasing him down.
See how Tiger's round unfolded with our shot-by-shot Tracker, which also includes updates on Fowler, Levin, Luke Donald and Adam Scott.
• • •
No. 18, Par 4, 444 yards
Site of his double-bogey on Thursday, Tiger chose to play it more conservatively on Friday with an iron off the tee. Staying in the fairway is paramount at Muirfield's finisher because of bunkers everywhere.
• Off the tee: He takes iron again and gets some nice roll, as the ball lands in the middle of the fairway and should allow Tiger to make a run at the pin in the front left.
• Approach shot: After waiting in the fairway for a bit, Tiger rehearses a couple of swings before launching a high shot that hits right in front of the green and funnels back down into the fairway, leaving him with a scrambling situation again.
• Around the green: Tiger nearly holes out his chip, with the second bounce landing inches away from the cup. The ball runs out to about eight feet behind the hole. This putt is crucial for Tiger to stay in the final two groups on Sunday.
• On the green: And Tiger misses his par putt to the left, hitting it a bit too firmly again and it runs three feet past. He makes the comebacker, but picks up his fourth bogey on the back and finishes the round at 1-over 73 and 4 under for the tournament. He is currently four shots back of leader Spencer Levin.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over (round over; 4 under for the tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: After landing in a fairway bunker at No. 17 and playing it safe by hitting his second shot about 50 yards right to the center of the fairway, Spencer Levin was about 150 yards out at the 478-yard par-4 hole. He hit his third shot about 14 feet from the cup and made a huge par save to remain at 8 under.
• • •
No. 17, Par 4, 478 yards
It hasn't been a pretty back nine for Tiger, but he can still save a solid round and potentially get into the final group with a nice finish. Tiger trails Spencer Levin by three shots after Levin picked up bogey on the par-3 16th.
• Off the tee: Tiger pulls driver for the second time on the day and pulls this one a bit left, finishing his swing one-handed. The ball nearly runs through a bunker, but it catches the lip and feeds it back in. He'll have a hard time getting to the green, first having to be worried about simply clearing the lip.
• Approach shot: And that is why he is Tiger Woods. Choking up on his club, he launches a shot way into the air, hits the back of the green and it funnels back down to about 15 feet right of the pin.
• On the green: Tiger reads a bit too much break in his birdie putt, leaving it wide left and it runs about two feet past. He makes the comebacker for a nice par considering his poor tee shot.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 17 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin has dropped back to 8 under. Levin, who's 1 over on the back nine, flied his first shot over the green at the par-3 16th and then missed a 7-foot putt two shots later before settling for bogey.
• • •
No. 16, Par 3, 215 yards
Tiger hit a majestic shot here on Friday, setting up an improbable birdie with a tough pin location. Today's location is equally tough in the back left, taking guts to hit it onto the back shelf.
• Off the tee: Tiger hits another great shot, landing it in the middle of the green and it runs out to about hole-high and 20 feet right of the flag.
• On the green: Tiger runs his birdie attempt about five feet past on the left, hitting it a bit too firmly coming down toward the hole. He misses the comebacker to the left and picks up his first three-putt of the day, resulting in his third bogey on the back nine. Tiger is now four shots back of Spencer Levin.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 16 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 15, Par 5, 529 yards
The last true scoring opportunity for Tiger and he birdied No. 15 on both Thursday and Friday.
• Off the tee: Tiger is a bit late on this swing and sends it screaming to the right, hitting a tree and bouncing back into some rough. He might still have a look at the green in two, but will have a clear shot to keep it in the fairway nonetheless.
• Second shot: With iron in hand, Tiger does decide to lay up and give himself a short iron into the green, just advancing it right up the middle of the fairway.
• Approach shot: Tiger studies the wind before addressing his shot, and takes 7-iron for the 160-yard shot. He lands it safely on the green, but will have about 30 feet for birdie.
• On the green: This is realistically a lag-putt type of situation, having to be careful on sending it too far past. Tiger gives it a great run, but runs past on the right by about a foot and taps in for par. He walks off a bit upset with himself, knowing he missed his second consecutive opportunity for birdie.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 15 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 14, Par 4, 363 yards
The short par 4 is tantalizing, but players are forced to lay-up off the tee, with water cutting through the fairway.
• Off the tee: It is becoming robotic as Tiger puts another fairway metal into the middle of the fairway. His swing looks smooth and under control. Tiger does seem drained, which could be the effects of the flu he is battling.
• Approach shot: From a little less than 100 yards, Tiger takes lob wedge and lands it on the left side of the green and spins it back across the green and about nine feet under the hole.
• On the green: A missed opportunity on this putt, hitting it a bit too firm and he sends the birdie attempt two feet past. Tiger knocks that in for par, but definitely can't let putts like that slip past if he hopes to make up ground.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 14 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler is in at 5 under after making par on No. 18. His approach shot landed just short of the green, but Fowler chipped to within inches. His playing partner, Adam Scott is finished at 3 over.
• • •
No. 13, Par 4, 455 yards
While it is likely that Spencer Levin and Rory Sabbatini will come back toward Tiger a bit, Woods will need to pick up a couple of red numbers over his final six holes to stay within in striking distance.
• Off the tee: For the first time on Saturday, Tiger pulls driver and hammers one up the left side of the fairway and leaves himself a wedge shot into the green.
• Approach shot: With lob wedge, Tiger knocks it to about five feet right of the hole to set up a short birdie attempt.
• On the green: Tiger slides his birdie attempt into the hole to respond to his bogey on No. 12. He moves to within three shots of Spencer Levin's lead.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 13 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler birdies again - this time making an 17-footer at the par-4 17th. Fowler is 5 under with one hole left.
• • •
No. 12, Par 3, 184 yards
The 12th hole bit Tiger on Friday, with Woods picking up his second double-bogey of the tournament after a wayward tee shot.
• Off the tee: With water in play (Scott Stallings landed in the lake right before Tiger's turn on the tee), Tiger seems to be aware of that and goes left and into a greenside bunker. He'll have a tough lie up against the back of the bunker, and likely will not be able to attack the hole.
• Around the green: Tiger has to play his sand shot out sideways, not even attempting to go after the hole. He leaves himself about 50 feet for par.
• On the green: Tiger leaves his par attempt about five feet short and is staring at another double-bogey. But he avoids that, but does pick up his second bogey of his last three holes and falls five shots back of the lead.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 12 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rory Sabbatini has moved into solo second with a birdie at the 11th, with the overnight leader moving to 7 under and three shots back of Levin. Rickie Fowler put his third shot on the par-5 15th to about five feet. He would make birdie to move to 4 under. Rickie has three holes left on the day. His playing partner, Adam Scott, has settled down on the back nine. After a 6-over 32 on the front, Scott has a birdie on No. 10 and pars the rest of the way.
• • •
No. 11, Par 5, 567 yards
Tiger doesn't want to let Spencer Levin get too far ahead, with the latter now holding a four-shot lead at 10 under. Levin just birdied the 10th hole by chipping in from off the green.
• Off the tee: A hole after missing his first fairway of the day - and subsequently his first bogey of the day - Tiger uses fairway metal and smacks it down the middle. He will not be able to go at this green in two, as he has left himself around 315 yards to the flag.
• Second shot: Tiger lays up and puts himself within a 100 yards to the green, in prime position to attack the pin.
• Approach shot: From only 85 yards, Tiger plays his three-quarters wedge shot over the flag, but it doesn't spin enough back and leaves himself 15 feet for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger has to be delicate with this putt, and almost hits it like a tap-in. The ball gets all the way to the hole and settles about a foot to the right of the cup and Tiger taps in for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 11 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 10, Par 4, 471 yards
A very methodic front-nine for Tiger, making a long birdie putt on No. 1 and an up-and-down birdie on No. 7 to help card a 2-under 34. Leader Spencer Levin closed out his front nine with a birdie to move to 9 under, two shots ahead of Tiger.
• Off the tee: Tiger misses his first fairway of the day, trying to convince the ball to go right in the air, but it stays left and hits a fan is standing just next to the ropes along the rough.
• Approach shot: With more than 215 yards left, Tiger takes 5-iron and comes up just short of the green, where he should be able to get up-and-down with a nice chip.
• Around the green: Tiger is aggressive with his chip shot, taking it about 10 feet past the hole, leaving himself a tricky, downhill putt for par.
• On the green: For the first time this week, Tiger posts a simple bogey, missing his par attempt short.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 10 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 9, Par 4, 412 yards
The tee shot at No. 9 presents few obstacles, but the approach will give players some fits. Tiger is now trailing by one shot after Spencer Levin picked up bogey at No. 7.
• Off the tee: With fairway metal in hand, Tiger simply looks like a machine, putting another ball in the middle of the fairway to set up his second shot nicely.
• Approach shot: With 9-iron in hand and sitting 160 yards out, Tiger plays it safe and just gets it on the green, about 40 feet under the hole.
• On the green: With an uphill putt, Tiger gets the right pace on the ball, but it settles about a foot to the right and he taps in for a par to close out a front-nine, 2-under 34.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 9 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 8, Par 3, 185 yards
Now within two shots of Spencer Levin's lead and in solo second, Tiger moves the par 3 that is surrounded by bunkers across the front. Today, the pin is shoved a bit to the left, and most players are choosing to play it to the right and take their chances with the birdie putt.
• Off the tee: With 8-iron in hand, Tiger hits a cut shot and it lands beautifully, sticking about eight feet to the right of the cup.
• On the green: He reads it perfectly, but the ball hits the left side of the cup and does a 180 spin, settling on the lip on the back of the cup. Tiger looks like he wants to break his putter in half after that one, but settles for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 8 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 7, Par 5, 563 yards
The lengthy par 5 isn't reachable for most golfers, but with a solid tee shot, some can at least think about going after the green in two. Tiger now trails by three shots after Spencer Levin moves to 9 under after a birdie at No. 6.
• Off the tee: Tiger does put the ball in the fairway, taking his fairway metal up the left side. He leaves himself about 270 yards to the back-right pin location.
• Second shot: Tiger goes for it and a fan screams loudly in his backswing and he comes out of a swing a bit, pushing it into a greenside bunker. He turns around and gestures to the fans and yells, "Come on, guys!"
• Around the green: Tiger plays a fantastic sand shot to about 18 inches, which Tiger taps in for his second birdie of the day - the first since No. 1.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 7 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin is now 9 under and 4 under for the round after a birdie at No. 6. He leads by three over Tiger and Scott Stallings.
• • •
No. 6, Par 4, 447 yards
The 6th hole is the site of Tiger's highlight birdie putt from Friday, draining one from the left side of the green, with the ball finding the right lip and sliding into the hole, setting off a nice fist pump from Tiger. Woods is now two shots off the lead after Spencer Levin eagled the par-5 5th hole.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes less-than-driver - he hast yet to use the big stick - and wallops it up the left side of the fairway.
• Approach shot: Tiger gives himself another shot at birdie, landing his second shot to the right of the back-left pin and it settles about 10 feet away from the flag.
• On the green: Tiger leaves another birdie putt on the lip, this time missing to the left. He taps it in for another par and stays two behind leader Spencer Levin.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 6 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin has taken a two-shot lead after an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole. He is 3 under through five holes today and 8 under for the tournament. Meanwhile, Adam Scott's day has continued to get worse. He has four holes of bogey or worse, including a triple on the par-4 ninth. He is 3 over after starting the day at 2 under.
• • •
No. 5, Par 5, 527 yards
Tiger is 1 under on the par-5 5th hole over the first two rounds and is 4 under on the par 5s this week at Muirfield.
• Off the tee: A day after after not cutting the corner at the extreme dogleg right par 5, Tiger makes the same mistake again, hitting a tree up the right side and he'll have no chance to go after the green in two.
• Second shot: Simply looking to find a good spot to hit his third shot from, Tiger chooses to go over the trees to try and find the fairway, but doesn't and he'll have a tough shot out of the rough for his third.
• Approach shot: With a very difficult stance out of the rough, and the ball above his feet, Tiger has to be careful to keep the water out of play - it's on the left - and he takes it high into the air, but finds a greenside bunker and he'll have to get up-and-down to save par.
• Around the green: Tiger plays a beautiful bunker shot to about two feet and he'll have that to save par.
• On the green: Tiger's scrambling ability has been fantastic this week, and he does it again with a par save after two poor shots to start this hole.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 5 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: After opening his round with a birdie, Jim Furyk bogeyed No. 2 and doubled No. 3 to fall back to 2 under. Well, he's now back up to 4 under after his third shot on the par-5 fifth hole found the bottom of the cup from about 86 yards out.
• • •
No. 4, Par 3, 200 yards
With plenty of wait time on the 4th tee, Tiger takes a seat and pulls out a sandwich from his bag. This is the second-straight hole that Stallings and Tiger are waiting on Daniel Summerhays and Jim Furyk.
• Off the tee: Using 5-iron - the same club as Friday - Tiger doesn't give it enough muscle, hitting the green but giving himself at least 40 feet for birdie. Tiger birdied No. 4 on Friday.
• On the green: Facing a double-breaker, Tiger gives the birdie putt a run for its money, coming up about a foot short and he taps in for a par. He is now tied with Spencer Levin atop the leaderboard after Rory Sabbatini bogeys No. 3.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 4 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Vijay Singh closes out a 3-under 69 to enter the clubhouse at 2 under, currently four shots out of first. Scott Stallings picks up bogey at No. 4 to fall back to 4 under.
• • •
No. 3, Par 4, 401 yards
Now tied for the lead with Spencer Levin and Rory Sabbatini - who both birdied No. 2 - Tiger plays the last of an opening three-hole stretch of par 4s.
• Off the tee: With iron in hand, Tiger calmly smacks it into the middle of the fairway, twirling his club as he picks up his tee.
• Approach shot: After a long wait in the fairway, Tiger takes sand wedge from 130 yards and takes it right over the flag and spins it back to about 15 feet above the hole.
• On the green: Tiger doesn't read enough left break and the ball squirms past the hole and settles about two feet away from the cup. Tiger thought he hit the right putt there, barking a bit at himself. Tiger does drain the par putt to stay at 6 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 3 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Luke Donald was at 3 over through 11 holes, but just holed a bunker shot on the par-4 12th to move back to 2 over. Rickie Fowler runs into a little bit of trouble on the par-4 sixth hole. Fowler's second shot flies over the green and finds the rough. His chip shot rolls past the hole and into some intermediate rough. He chips his fourth shot to about a foot from the hole and settles for bogey to fall back to 2 under.
• • •
No. 2, Par 4, 455 yards
For the second-straight day, Tiger opens his round with a birdie at No. 1. On Friday, he missed a golden opportunity to also birdie No. 2, missing a six-footer.
• Off the tee: Again using less-than-driver, Tiger is definitely struggling with this cold, hacking while doing his practice swings. He looks as though he doesn't like his tee ball, following through with one hand, but it lands on the left side of the fairway and he should be able to go after the back pin location.
• Approach shot: From 185 yards, Tiger needed one more club to get it to the back, instead leaving it about 40 feet under the flag, but on the green.
• On the green: Tiger now has a one-shot lead after Rory Sabbatini picks up a two-putt bogey on the first hole. Tiger gets a read from Stallings' birdie attempt (he missed a foot short), but still leaves it a little more than three feet short. He makes that for par to stay at 6 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 2 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• • •
No. 1, Par 4, 470 yards
Scott Stallings is playing with Tiger Woods for the first time. Stallings goes to shake Tiger's hand prior to the round, but Tiger offers a fist bump because of the germs he is carrying due to a nasty cold he has been fighting. Despite the sun and a mid-70s temperatures expected, Tiger is dressed with a grey sweatshirt and grey slacks.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes a fairway metal off the first tee and plays a low stinger that finds the middle of the fairway and he will be able to attack the back-left pin location.
• Approach shot: From just under 180 yards, Tiger hits first from the fairway and tries to use the slope on the back of the green, but it kicks a bit too hard and comes to rest right off the back of the green, where he'll still be able to use putter.
• On the green: And Tiger sends an early message with a long birdie, draining despite having to give it a short backswing up against the rough. Tiger is now tied for the lead at 6 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 1 hole; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler has worked his way up to a tie for ninth. Fowler is 1 under on the day and 3 under for the tournament. Other golfers high on the leaderboard who are having good rounds so far include Bo Van Pelt (4 under, 2 under on the day), Matt Every (3 under after starting Saturday at even par) and Ryan Moore (3 under, 2 under for the round). Adam Scott remains at even while Luke Donald is 2 over through 10 holes.
• • •
Update No. 2: 12:54 p.m.
Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler teed off together Saturday after both ended up 2 under through two rounds. While Fowler is even through two holes, Scott is 2 over after a double at No. 1.
• • •
Update No. 1: 12:49 p.m.
Fred Couples flirted with the cut line late Friday, but managed to sneak into the weekend. He teed off in the early morning and has already completed his round. Unfortunately, Couples shot 4 over and made just one birdie in his third round. He is at 7 over. Hunter Mahan, who entered Saturday at 1 over, bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5 before doubling the par-4 sixth hole. He had dropped to 5 over and outside the top 60. He has since birdied the par-4 ninth and is 3 over through 10 holes. Brandt Snedeker has withdrawn from the tournament due to an injury.
• • •
Round 2 coverage
Braving his own storm: Spencer Levin missed the Masters by about $17,000. Then he flubbed his chance for his first Tour victory in February. But it is making him stronger. Story.
• Memorial notebook: Rory McIlroy carded a second-round 79 Friday at Memorial that sent him packing early from a third consecutive tournament. Story.
• • •
Round 1 coverage
• Simply tired: Phil Mickelson says that it wasn't his 7-over 79 that caused his post-round withdrawal from Memorial on Thursday. It was his whirlwind schedule before the event that left him "fatigued." Story.
• Unassuming star: Much of the attention on Thursday went to the likes of Tiger Woods, but Muirfield Village was the biggest star. Story.
• Olympic feat: Dustin Johnson might not remember match play at the 2007 U.S. Amateur, played at The Olympic Club, too clearly, but it's safe to say his opponent does. Story.