Britain’s Justin Rose took advantage of ideal conditions and put on a putting clinic for a joint share of the lead with Rickie Fowler and Geoff Ogilvy at the Memorial on Thursday.
Rose, who is still seeking his first victory on the USPGA Tour, bogeyed his opening hole and made his move late with five birdies in a sizzling six-hole stretch for a seven-under 65 at Muirfield Village.
“It’s a bit of a pun, but I putted scary good with my new Ghost putter,” said Rose, who has won five times internationally. “I just kept plugging away, and then a few putts started dropping and you find your rhythm.”
US Masters champion Phil Mickelson was two shots back of the leaders after firing a bogey-free round of 67 that included birdies on three of the par-fives.
Tiger Woods, however, was unable to take advantage of the conditions as the world No. 1 shot an even-par 72 that did not include a single birdie at any of the four par-fives that he usually feasts on.
Ogilvy looked set to enjoy sole possession of the lead after eight birdies through 16 holes, but he missed a close-in putt on his penultimate hole. It was such a short putt that the Australian did not bother to mark or clean the ball before his attempt.
“I thought it was just a real straightforward tap-in and I missed it,” Ogilvy said. “You do it a couple of times a year and that was one of them.”
Fowler was proficient with the short stick as the American drained six birdies and also had an eagle on the par-five seventh to help offset a lone bogey.
Former world No. 1 Vijay Singh, who earlier this week accepted a special exemption for this month’s US Open Championship at Pebble Beach, shot a one-under 71 in a round that included a double-bogey, a bogey and four birdies.