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June 4 2011

11:26 PM

Stricker the man to beat Sunday

DUBLIN, Ohio – Steve Stricker started the third round of the Memorial Tournament with a three-stroke lead. And that’s just how he ended it, too.

In between, though, Stricker threatened to run away and hide –– even making a pair of eagles on his first five holes. But the back nine rose up and got in his way with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16.

The veteran finished with a 69 for a 12-under total and will play with Jonathan Byrd in Sunday’s final group at 1:25 p.m. Matt Kuchar and Brandt Jobe are tied for third at 8 under while Mark Wilson, Shaun Micheel and Rory McIlroy are another stroke behind.

Muirfield Village was playing firm and fast as the leaders came through on a steamy Saturday afternoon. But about the time the pros were sitting down to dinner the heavens opened up and rain and hail began to pelt Jack Nicklaus’ signature creation.

Depending on how much rain falls, Muirfield Village could play very differently on Sunday. Regardless of whether it’s firm and fast or softer and longer, though, it certainly won’t be easy.

“This course is tough enough that if you've got it going a little bit off it can hurt you,” Kuchar said. “But looks like Strick has got it all, and it's going to take a low number for anybody to knock Steve Stricker tomorrow to have a chance.” 

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