This is the 25th time in the last 10 seasons that a top-10 ranked player led by 4 or more through 54 holes on the PGA Tour.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) July 18, 2020
22 went on to win.
(Rory '11 Masters, DJ '17 WGC-HSBC, JT '19 Riviera are the exceptions)
Saturday's third round at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village felt major championship-like. It was definitely more U.S. Open than it was PGA Championship with overinflated scores and greens like trampolines, but the entire thing was both a spectacle and spectacular.
Jon Rahm showed out, too, with a lights-out 68 that was one of just two rounds in the 60s on Saturday. Let's take a look at what he did and how the rest of the field responded in Round 3 on Saturday.
1. Jon Rahm (-12) -- Rahm made four birdies in a row over the last six holes (and nearly a fifth) to put distance between himself and the field. He also led the field in proximity to the hole in Round 3, which led to his co-round of the day of 68.
Here's the crazy part: he's not even putting it that well. Of the nearly 17 strokes he's gained on the field, over 14 of them have come from tee to green. If he putts it at all (at all!) on Sunday, that's a wrap, and he's your new Memorial champ and No. 1 player in the world. The best part of this for him is that this is, for all intents and purposes, a major championship, and he's gone to war both physically and mentally with the tournament. It's great foreshadowing for the next 12 months which will include seven major championships.
T2. Tony Finau, Ryan Palmer (-8) and 4. Danny Willett (-6) -- Danny Willett! He's been incredible with the putter so far this week, which could be interesting come Sunday. Finau had a tough back nine. He led by three after making birdie at No. 10 and No. 11, but then he played the last seven holes in 4 over (including two double). It felt as if he was just giving strokes away coming home to anyone who wanted them. And this has largely been his issue in not winning over the course of his career. Mega-talented but has to be able to shut it down when it counts, and he had plenty of opportunities to go after Rahm late but didn't take advantage of them. Still, a big first three days and nice front nine leaves him in a good position going into Sunday.
T5. Jason Day, Henrik Norlander (-5) -- If you would have given me two million guesses and a random name generator before the tournament, I would not have come up with this combo before the event started as guys who would be tied for fifth going into the final round on Sunday. Worrisome part for them is that they're both top five in putting, and that could fall off in a hurry in the final round.
T7. Matt Wallace, Chez Reavie (-4) T9. Patrick Rodgers, Mackenzie Hughes, Patrick Cantlay (-3) -- I really thought Cantlay was going to sniff around the lead all afternoon, but he closed with four bogeys and a double over his last seven holes to drop from 7 under to 3 under in a hurry. Any of these guys will probably need a 66 and a prayer on Sunday to even have a chance at a playoff at the end of the event.
T12. Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy (-2) -- It's weird to think that guys like Spieth and McIlroy are so close to the top 10, but so far from being able to win. That's what happens when you get a fast and firm golf course that separates the field like this one has, though. McIlroy had plenty of chances on Saturday, but he made a lot of mistakes which led to six (!) bogeys. Take away half of those and he's right in it. Spieth kind of hung on with just one birdie and a driver he couldn't straighten out.
T37. Tiger Woods (+2) -- Big Cat moved up about 30 spots on the board as the field average ballooned to 1.5 over par on Saturday. He hit it well and continued to wedge it beautifully. If he plays on Sunday like he did on Saturday, then optimism will (and should) be high for the PGA Championship at Harding Park three weeks from today.
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Three other takeaways
• Here's what Justin Thomas had to say about the major-like setup (after shooting 75!).
"It did [feel like a major]," said Thomas. "It was fun. Especially with what's going on, we haven't played a major in a while, so this was as close as I thought. I actually thought that on 18 kind of reading my putt and obviously with no people here it doesn't feel like a major in that sense, but just the golf course is so perfect, it's fun. Haven't played a course like this in a while where the ball is rolling this much and the greens are this firm."
• Saturday's 73.7 scoring average wasn't the toughest of the week -- that came on Thursday when the field average was 73.9 -- but consider the fact that there wasn't much wind and the worst players of the week have already been cut, I think you could argue that Round 3 was the toughest of the days thus far.
• The closing stretch at Muirfield Village is so good and so tough. There are so many risk-reward holes, Sunday's winner having to run that set to claim the trophy is going to be fabulous. I can't wait for it.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from the Memorial below. Check out the live scores at the top of this story or a more detailed leaderboard.