The final pairings at the 2014 Memorial Tournament are getting to the turn, and two international superstars are pushing 54-hole leader Bubba Watson. Playing just ahead Bubba are Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, who went a combined 8-under through their first eight holes at Muirfield Village.
Matsuyama was the first to pull even with Bubba, draining a birdie putt on the par-3 eighth hole to get to 14-under. The 22-year-old Japanese phenom would be the youngest winner ever at the Memorial, and whether it happens this Sunday or not, that first win is coming soon. He's been so impressive over the last 12 to 15 months, repeatedly contending at the biggest events in the game. There's always a lot of talk about the up-and-coming crop of players, and Matsuyama is definitely one of the top three or four prospects in the world right now.
Matsuyama started the day with back-to-back birdies on the opening two holes. The second came on a nifty little chip-in, and the pressure was immediately on Bubba, who had yet finish up the first hole.
Bubba, however, was pulling off his own magic from off the green. His opening hole on Sunday was truly the epitome of "Bubba golf." It started with a drive that left Golf Channel commentator Nick Faldo breathless, as the lefty, who leads the Tour in driving distance, bombed one 31 yards past the next closest drive on that hole. Officially marked at 363 yards, it was an astounding shot and just reinforced that the two-time Masters champ is often playing a different course than anyone else. But from just 90 yards out or so, he missed the green entirely with a wedge. That seemed to remove his shot at what looked like a great birdie opportunity, but of course, he'd finish with the red number and roll it in from 35 feet on the front fringe.
I guess it doesn't matter how you get there. Bubba would add another birdie at the fourth hole, but would miss two huge opportunities for red numbers at the front nine par-5s. He made two dissapointing pars at the 5th and 7th hole, and has been a little shaky with his approach shots into the greens. The irons will need work coming into the clubhouse. That's opened the door for Matsuyama, who turned in 32 with a share of the lead.
One shot back of those two are Kevin Na and Adam Scott. Na is finishing up his round, which will be the low number of the day. He's a remarkable 8-under through his first 17 holes. Scott, on the other hand, has a full nine holes to go and is steadily chasing from 13-under. Here's a current snapshot of the leaderboard:
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