Birdies caught up with Lanny Wadkins and bogeys caught up with Hale Irwin today in the third round of the Memorial golf tournament.
Wadkins played the final five holes of the Muirfield Village Golf Course in four under par, making birdie on the 18th to complete a round of 67. With that, he took a one-stroke lead at eight-under-par 208 over his good friend Irwin going into Sunday's final round of the tournament begun by Jack Nicklaus.
Irwin, who had played bogey-free golf in a 68-68 start, watched a four-stroke lead disappear with a round of 73 that included three bogeys and put him at seven under.
Wadkins, renowned as a streak player, put together a round including four birdies and an eagle to come from a fifth-place tie, five strokes back. His 54-hole total tied the record on the Nicklaus-designed course regarded as one of the most difficult on the PGA Tour.
"I hit some good putts on the front side that didn't go in," said Wadkins. "Then they went in bunches on the back side . . . I was patient because I knew I was rolling good putts. I felt like they had to start falling, and they did."
Three strokes back was Bill Kratzert, who also had a birdie at 18 that gave him a 71 for 211.
Bill Rogers, the 1981 British Open champion, shot 70 and Lon Hinkle 71, were next at 213. Five more were tied at par 214, including Mark O'Meara, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, and surprising Dave Barr.
Wadkins bunched two birdies and an eagle on the final five holes and took away the lead Irwin had held comfortably for most of the day. Wadkins sank a 20-foot putt on the 18th green after coming out of a bunker down the fairway.
Wadkins is another two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, claiming the Los Angeles Open and the Bob Hope Classic in January. His putting streak was all the more remarkable for the state of the notoriously sloping greens, which were quickened by two days of wind and heat and induced an average score of 73.2 for the day.
He birdied the fifth and eighth holes with putts of 25 feet each, and the 14th with a six-footer. He then eagled the 490-yard par-5 No. 15 to tie Irwin.
Wadkins set up his eagle on 15 with a three-wood second shot that traveled 250 yards and came to rest 25 feet from the pin. He sank a 30-footer on the next hole to save par while Irwin was making his third bogey of the day on 15.
"When I get it going, I can keep it going for a while," Wadkins said.
Irwin had on Friday broken the tournament record of 35 errorless holes, which he set in the 1980 and '81 Memorials. He finally made his first bogey on the par-3 eighth. After 43 straight pars, he found sand from the tee and two-putted from 18 feet.
Irwin ran off four more consecutive pars, but then began alternating good holes with bad. He birdied the 12th and 14th, bogeyed the 13th and missed a six-foot par putt on the 15th minutes after Wadkins had eagled it.
"The difference between today and the previous two days was on the greens," Irwin said. "I didn't have the putting success, although I had my chances. But I played fairly well. You just can't go around forever without making bogeys."
With his face red and swollen, Irwin was in obvious discomfort today from an allergy attack and later sought medical help.
The last few holes were the undoing of several contenders today. Barr was solidly in the running, three strokes behind Irwin, until he double-bogeyed the 17th. O'Meara, who began the day at even par, birdied the third, fifth and 15 holes to climb the leader board at three under par. But he bogeyed 16.
Nick Price birdied the second and third holes to go six under par. He double-bogeyed the par-4 sixth and 17th to drop to 216.
Host Nicklaus took 74 -- 221.