DUBLIN, Ohio — Spencer Levin realizes that a one-shot lead going into the final round means next to nothing. If he didn't learn this by blowing a six-shot lead at the Phoenix Open earlier this year, he was reminded of it on the back nine Saturday at the Memorial.
For the longest time, Levin simply couldn't miss. He chipped in for eagle from behind the fifth green. He holed a chip from 30 yards short of the 10th green for birdie, this one giving him a four-shot lead on a tough day at Muirfield Village.
Eight holes later, his lead was down to one over Rory Sabbatini.
If that wasn't enough, a collection of stars and proven players were lined up behind him — including four-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods.
Levin relied on a few good breaks and one good par save to match the low round of the day with a 3-under 69, giving him another chance at his first PGA Tour victory and an opportunity to get into the U.S. Open on Sunday without having to go through a 36-hole qualifier.
The circumstances are far different from when Levin lost that six-shot lead in Phoenix, not only the margin but the caliber of players chasing him. He'll find out Sunday if he learned from his failure, though the self-styled Californian already is loaded with perspective.
"I did learn that I still got to play golf, I still got to eat the same stuff, still have the same friends, still have the same family, so nothing really changed," he said. "Obviously, you want to win when you're in positions. But I'm just going to go out there tomorrow and have fun. Nothing really changed in my life, and I don't think anything will change that big in my life if I do win. It's just going out there and try and do my best."
It might take more than that.
Levin, who had one of only three rounds in the 60s, was at 8-under 208 and will play in the final group with Sabbatini, a six-time PGA Tour winner who shot 71.
The attention figures to be on the twosome in front of them — Rickie Fowler (69), the Quail Hollow winner who has been playing his best golf over the last month, and Woods, whose other win this year came in demanding conditions at Bay Hill. Woods bogeyed two of the last three holes for a 73.
Right behind them were Ryo Ishikawa (71), Henrik Stenson (71) and Jonathan Byrd (72), with Davis High grad Boyd Summerhays (74) and Vijay Singh (69) on the outskirts of contention, six shots behind.
LPGA TOUR: At Galloway Township, N.J., Stacy Lewis tied a tournament 36-hole record with a second-round 65 on Saturday at the ShopRite Classic to maintain the lead entering Sunday's final round.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: At West Des Moines, Iowa, Jay Haas will carry a three-shot lead into the final round of the Principal Charity Classic after shooting a 6-under 65 on Saturday.