DUBLIN, Ohio, June 1 (Reuters) - Former champion Justin Rose had a sense of deja vu after battling through tricky, gusting winds to end Saturday’s third round at the Memorial Tournament three strokes off the pace.
Three years ago, the Englishman trailed by four shots going into the final round here at Muirfield Village Golf Club and went on to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour by firing a flawless six-under-par 66 in shifting breezes.
”When I won this thing a few years ago, I was chasing on Sunday,“ Rose told reporters after carding a one-under 71 to finish at five-under 211, three behind pacesetting American Matt Kuchar. ”It was similar conditions, and I got it done.
”This course has a history of the wind swirling. But obviously when it’s blowing this hard, it plays a little more consistent. That’s the only good thing I can say about it.
“The rest is very tough. The greens are rolling perfectly, but quick, but there’s no let-up. You have to hit good shot after good shot, which is how it should be.”
Asked whether memories of his 2010 Memorial triumph would give him any possible advantage going into Sunday’s final round, world number four Rose replied: ”Well, it matters.
“Anytime you’ve done it, you can draw strength from that. I had a pretty specific game plan going into the final round in 2010, being four back. And I‘m sure that will play again this week.”
While five-times PGA Tour winner Kuchar took over at the top of the leaderboard by carding a 70 as winds gusted up to 32 mph (51.5 kph), Rose was delighted to rebound from three bogeys around the turn with three birdies in his last seven holes.
”I struggled a little with my patience around the turn,“ the 32-year-old said after covering his back nine in two-under 34. ”I felt like I was throwing the round away, and I had to give myself a talking-to to just relax, let the golf happen.
”And I managed to do that, made three birdies from that point coming in. That was a nice turning point for me. Obviously today was a great day.
“If I kept my position in the field, I gave myself a chance going into Sunday, which is what it’s all about.”
Rose, seeking his fifth victory on the PGA Tour, will tee off with Australian Matt Jones and American Bill Haas in the penultimate grouping on Sunday. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden)