Hale Irwin, sniffling and sneezing from a severe allergy attack, couldn't see the 15th green, but he knew by the roar from the gallery what had occurred.
"I knew who was on the green at the time," Irwin said, his face red and swollen from the allergy. "People want to see a race. They don't want a four-shot lead. I put two and two together and knew what happened."
And the gallery got a race, largely as the result of Lanny Wadkins' 25-foot putt for an eagle-3 on the 15th. It helped Wadkins to wipe out Irwin's once-commanding lead and move in front by one stroke Saturday in the third round of the Memorial tournament at Dublin, Ohio.
Wadkins, who put on a birdie-eagle burst on the 14th and 15th holes, played the back nine in 32 for a five-under-par 67. He finished the round with a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole and completed 54 holes in 208, eight under par. That matches the course record at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village Golf Club.
"I was very patient," Wadkins said. "That's the way you have to be on this golf course. I knew I was playing well. I knew I was making some putts. My patience paid off."
Irwin, in obvious discomfort from the allergy attack--he later sought medical help--made his first bogey of the tournament on the eighth hole, had two more on the back and had to work hard to salvage a 73.
A former winner of this event and a two-time U.S. Open champion, Irwin will take a 209 total into today's final round of the chase for a $100,000 first prize.
Bill Kratzert, who had an eagle on the 15th and birdied the 18th, had a round of 71 and is third at 211.
Bill Rogers, a former British Open champion attempting to fight his way out of a two-year slump, had a 70 and was tied at 213 with Lon Hinkle. Hinkle shot a 71.
At Corning, N.Y., Patti Rizzo shot an eight-under-par 64 to record a 54-hole tournament record score of 201 and move past Sherri Turner into a three-shot lead in the $250,000 LPGA Corning event.
Turner had led the tournament after each of the first two rounds, taking a four-stroke lead into the third round. The second-year pro from Greenville, S.C, was still ahead until the final three holes. However, her last three tee shots ended up under or in trees and she finished double-bogey, bogey and double-bogey for a 54-hole score of 205 and third place.
Australian Jane Crafter, who trailed Turner by four shots starting the third round, broke the tournament record on the front nine with a six-under-par 30. She shot a 67 for the round for a 204 and second place.
Beth Daniel, who was second after two rounds, shot a 72 to drop into fifth place at 207.