Mine That Bird, as the betting favorite, spit the bit at the 2009 Belmont Stakes, but no such favorite exists after three rounds of Jack's Memorial Tournament. Thirteen golfers are within five strokes of the leaders, leaders who don't strike fear into the five major champions hoping overcome their deficits tomorrow.
Matt Bettencourt shared the 54 hole lead with two-time Tour winner Mark Wilson. Bettencourt was last year's Nationwide Tour money winner. Wilson's a journeyman pro whose play this year has given him hope of achieving greater status on tour. They finished at -9, one stroke ahead of US Open winner Jim Furyk, two in front of major champions Davis Love III and Geoff Ogilvy. The other lurking major winners were Ernie Els and Tiger Woods at -5. Woods' 68 tied for 2nd best round of the day, with Ogilvy taking the honors with a sizzling 63. Inserting themselves into the mix among the glitterati were Jonathan Byrd at -8 and Matt Kuchar tied at -5 with Michael Letzig.
The fairways and greens at Muirfield are getting slicker than a used car salesman on the last day of the month. Look for experience to prevail. Mr. Bettencourt and Mr. Wilson have certainly played under pressure before or they wouldn't be here. Still, being chased on a golf course with a major-like set up by five major champions is a different deal all together. If one of them holds up they'll elevate themselves to a new level in the Tour pantheon. If not, they'll still take home a bundle of loot. Should be fun to watch.