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Fowler stays three clear at Memorial, Barnes a contender


Rickie Fowler of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Memorial golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio, June 5, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
Rickie Fowler of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Memorial golf tournament in Dublin, Ohio, June 5, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

By Andrew Both

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Rickie Fowler ended the third round of the Memorial Tournament as he started it on Saturday, holding a three-shot lead over his nearest challenger.

After a day that included two long weather delays that stretched for six hours, Fowler finished shortly before sunset at Muirfield Village with a three-under-par 69 that put him in with a strong chance to secure his first PGA Tour title.

Fowler was at 16-under 200, with fellow Americans Ricky Barnes (62) and Tim Petrovic (68) tied for second on 13-under.

Briton Justin Rose (70) was another shot behind after finishing with two late bogeys.

"These last three days I've hit the ball well, kept it out of trouble and given myself some looks at birdie," the 21-year-old Fowler told reporters. "So I knew the opportunities were going to come around and the course was there to be had."

Fowler said he would not be intimidated by the game's biggest names on Sunday, because they were not in contention.

"Those guys that are normally around, they aren't around, but it doesn't really change my outlook," he said. "I'm just going to stick to my game plan."

The fans who waited out the long morning weather delay to watch world number one Tiger Woods were treated to a golfing clinic, but instead it was from his playing partner Barnes, who shot 10-under to move into contention.

Barnes picked up four strokes on the front nine, and he also birdied the par-four 10th, before making eagle at the par-five 11th, where he holed out from 108 yards, a shot that revved up the gallery.

"Irons were probably the main key to my round," said Barnes, who led into the final round at last year's U.S. Open, before finishing tied for second.

"I got away with a few bad drives but other than that hit a lot of greens and took advantage of my (opportunities)."

Woods, meanwhile, shot a three-under 69, leaving the defending champion 10 strokes from the lead and he refused requests for interviews and autographs afterwards, despite hardly playing a bad shot over the final eight holes.

The only blemish on his card was a double bogey at 10, where he blocked his drive into the back yard of a house adjacent to the fairway and he did not even bother looking for his ball.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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