US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III shot his third straight 2-under-par 68 Saturday to join Nick O’Hern and John Merrick atop the leaderboard at the windy St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
Love only recently committed to play in Memphis, waiting to make sure he was healthy enough to use this event as a final tuneup for the US Open after qualifying Monday in Columbus, Ohio.
Love, who hasn’t won since 2008, had three birdies and only one bogey Saturday to match O’Hern and Merrick at 6-under 204. O’Hern had a 67, and Merrick shot 69.
Rory McIlroy, who will try to defend his US Open title next week, had a one-stroke lead when he teed off. He shot a 2-over 72 with six bogeys and four birdies to drop into a tie at 5 under.
Dustin Johnson, making his second start after a 2 1/2-month layoff recovering from back pain, also was in the group at 5 under after a 67.
J.B. Holmes was in that knot atop the leaderboard going to No. 18, but hit his tee shot into a bunker and three-putted for a double bogey to finish at 4 under.
It was a wild day, with eight players having at least a share of the lead at some point, starting with McIlroy, who teed off with six players just a stroke behind. McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes to fall off the pace. He tied Kevin Stadler at 7 under only to bogey No. 9 and fall back again.
LPGA - Eun-Hee Ji shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Karrie Webb after the third round of the LPGA Championship at Pittsford, N.Y.
Ji was 4 under at Locust Hill. Webb had a 68, matching Ji for the best round of the tournament.
Giulia Sergas, who shared the first-round lead but had a 76 Friday in the windswept second round, moved back near the top with four birdies on the front nine and also finished with a 69. Sergas was tied at 2 under with Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, and Inbee Park.
Lewis, who has two wins in her last three events, had a 70, Pettersen shot a 71, and Park had a 72.
Paula Creamer was at or near the top most of the day, but faltered at the end and finished with a 73. She was in a seven-way tie at 1 under.
Defending champion Yani Tseng had her best round of the three days, finishing with a 74 after a 76 and a 75.
There were 24 players within four shots of the lead at the start of play. When the day ended, there were 13, including 2010 champion Cristie Kerr, within four of the top.
Se Ri Pak, still not fully recovered from a left shoulder injury suffered in April, had been the picture of consistency the first two rounds, shooting 70 and 71, but faltered with a 76 and is five shots back.
European - Lee Westwood completed his warmup for the US Open by winning the Nordea Masters at Bro, Sweden, by five shots. Westwood’s final round of 3-under 69 gave him a total of 19-under 269.
Champions - Defending champion Tom Lehman shot a 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Regions Tradition at Birmingham, Ala., a Champions Tour major.
Curtis Cup - Britain and Ireland moved within a point of the US, taking 2 1/2 of 3 points in the afternoon four-ball matches at Nairn, Scotland.
The US leads, 6 1/2-5 1/2, entering the eight singles matches Sunday. The Americans need 10 points to retain the Cup, while Britain and Ireland needs 10 1/2 to regain it.