Charl Schwartzel made sure one hole didn’t ruin an entire round Thursday in the Memorial.
Schwartzel hit the ball so consistently well at Muirfield Village that the former Masters champion twice had stretches of four straight birdies. And when he made a double bogey with an 8-iron in hand and his ball on a tee toward the end of the round, he got rid of that bad taste with one last birdie for a 7-under 65.
Schwartzel had a one-shot lead over Scott Piercy, who went from smashing it to playing it safe, and he was six shots clear of five-time winner Tiger Woods.
Woods hit the ball well enough to be much closer, though he missed too many birdie chances and didn’t make up any ground on the par 5s in his 71. Woods was one shot worse than 53-year-old Fred Couples and one shot better than 14-year-old Guan
Tianlang, who has played more PGA Tour events than Woods over the last two months.
Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, might be headed for another short week at the tournament Jack Nicklaus built. After opening with a birdie, McIlroy didn’t putt nearly well enough to atone for some loose shots.
McIlroy four-putted the par-3 12th for a double bogey, had a three-putt bogey on No. 7 and ended his round by missing a 4-foot birdie putt. That gave him a 78.