Bubba Watson powers to third-round Memorial lead

Sat May 31, 2014 7:16pm EDT
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(Reuters) - American Bubba Watson surged to the lead as Englishman Paul Casey plunged four strokes behind after the third round of the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Saturday.

Masters champion Watson used his astonishing power to compile five early birdies on his way to a three-under-par 69 in ideal conditions at Muirfield Village.

He posted a 12-under 204 total, one stroke ahead of compatriot Scott Langley (67) with one round left.

Young Japanese player Hideki Matsuyama (69) was two strokes behind, while world number one Adam Scott of Australia (68) trailed by three despite a bogey at the final hole.

Casey, who started the day with a three-shot lead, had a nightmare round, struggling with almost every facet of his game in a 76.

The former world number three has recently shown glimpses of his old brilliance as he seeks to regain his full playing status on the PGA Tour, but has been unable to string together four good rounds.

Watson, aiming to become the first left-hander to win this prestigious Jack Nicklaus-hosted event, played far more adventurously than his words suggested.

"I just kept my head down, grinding away," he told CBS television.

"Shooting in the 60s every day is my goal. It's working out so far."   Continued...

Bubba Watson tees off on the first hole during the third round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sportss