2022 Memorial Tournament standings: Billy Horschel takes a five-stroke lead with 65 in Round 3

2022 Memorial Tournament standings: Billy Horschel takes a five-stroke lead with 65 in Round 3

In the blink of an eye, Billy Horschel rose to the top of the standings on Saturday at the 2022 Memorial Tournament. Continuing to keep his foot on the gas from there, the Florida product will now enter the final round at Muirfield Village with a five-shot lead.

Starting the day two strokes shy of Cameron Smith’s 36-hole lead, Horschel started off with a flurry, participating on the first hole and never looking back. With six more birdies, Horschel’s third round of 7 under 65 marks the lowest of all this week.

While his birdie prowess was prevalent on Saturday, throughout the first 54 holes, it was his ability to avoid bogeys that caught my attention. He’s only made one mistake so far – a 3-20ft putt on the par-4 No. 1 hole of the first round – and hasn’t made any errors in his last 44 holes in which he played the golf course in 11 under.

Horschel arrived at the Memorial Tournament after a missed cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge, the first instance of him missing the weekend in 2022. Disappointed with himself, his course management and his overall process, Horschel quickly corrected the wrong of last week and is primed to enter the winner’s circle for the first time since last year’s BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour.

“Very satisfied with the work Fooch [caddie Mark Fulcher] and I did,” Horschel said. “Not just today, but over the past three days. I think it’s just going through our process, making sure we have a number where we’re trying to land the ball, talking about shooting, club selection, wind. When we do that, it allows me to have a clearer picture and have a little higher level of acceptance over the golf shot.”

Rick Gehman and Jonathan Coachman recap Saturday’s action at the 2022 Memorial Tournament. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The leader

1. Billy Horschel (-13): The 35-year-old was close to adding a seventh PGA Tour title to his tally this season after finishing second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Zurich Classic. Short of misses in both cases, he is now in control of the Memorial tournament thanks to a nearly flawless 54 holes.

It’s the second 54-hole lead of his career and his first since the 2014 BMW Championship. Apart from Cameron Smith, I’m not sure there’s too much concern about those behind him and his he’s just minding his own business, Horschel should be the one to shake hands with Jack Nicklaus on Sunday.

“I just go to the tee understanding that I’m leading the tournament, I know that I have as many shots as I have in front of me,” Horschel said of how he will play with a five shot margin. “I’m just going out, I’m trying to play a really good game of golf. I’m not going to be protective, I’m not going to be overly aggressive. I’m going to play like I’ve been doing for the last three days.”

Other suitors

T2. Aaron Wise and Cameron Smith (-8)

T4. Daniel Berger, Francesco Molinari and Jhonattan Vegas (-7)

T7. Patrick Cantlay, Joaquin Niemann, Davis Riley and Denny McCarthy (-6)

The Sevens have been wild on the last two Sundays of the PGA Tour with Justin Thomas winning the PGA Championship and Sam Burns winning the Charles Schwab Challenge. While this trend is unlikely to continue, it’s hugely encouraging to see a player like Molinari in the top five after a fight with injuries and swing changes.

“It was harder than I ever imagined, between injuries and other things that kind of got in the way,” Molinari said. “I lost my way for a while. I feel like this year there has definitely been an improvement in the game, maybe not yet in the results and in the scores, but even just the last few weeks…I think there were some signs that things were looking up.”

Rory remains stuck in neutral

Saturdays could be the new Thursdays for McIlroy, as this is the second straight third round in which he has fallen flat. Signing for a 1 in 73, the Northern Irishman who started the day just three shots off the lead now finds himself nine behind Horschel.

“It gets a little tricky,” McIlroy said. “You have to land him on your spots with your iron shots and you have to put him in the fairway to have chances to get him close. The greens get fast so you have to play a bit more of a break. It’s hard for keep the ball under the hole, so you are – there are a lot of putts that are a bit defensive.”

Perhaps that’s why McIlroy’s performance on Saturday was so surprising, as he hit his irons beautifully and had long been known as one of the best drivers in the world. Losing more than one shot on the approach and two more with the putter in hand, McIlroy finds himself with another shot at entering the top five through the backdoor.

United States Presidents Cup team could slowly take shape

For a second, let’s project Horschel as this week’s winner, which would propel him to No. 8 in Team USA standings for the Presidents Cup. With the current top six likely locked in, whether through automatic qualifying or not, that leaves captain Davis Love III with six selections between: Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Horschel, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau, Cameron Young, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka and Bryson. From Chambeau.

Horschel never represented the United States as a professional and desperately wanted to make the Ryder Cup squad at Whistling Straits. Winner of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last year, one has to imagine he’ll get the green light for Quail Hollow if his form persists. While there are certainly question marks on the list above, it’s a big deal for the US side as they will be tasked with dismantling one of the strongest international teams to date.

Updated odds and picks

Here’s a look at the updated odds with one round remaining, via Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Billy Horschel: 4/7
  • Cameron Smith: 13/2
  • Aaron Wise: 12-1
  • Daniel Berger: 22-1
  • Patrick Cantlay: 25-1
  • Francesco Molinari: 30-1
  • Joaquin Niemann: 35-1
  • Jonathan Vegas: 35-1
  • Davis Riley: 40-1

Sometimes it’s more than good to miss the final round, but if there’s a game to be played, it’s to throw the juice with Horschel. For reference, Scheffler had the same price last week at Colonial when he entered the final round with a two-stroke lead. I’m not comparing the world No. 1 with Horschel, but I’m saying there’s still value in that award if you’re willing to put up with it.

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