David Toms feared his 5-iron was headed for the back bunker on the par-3 fourth hole, so when it kissed off the pin and dropped into the cup for an ace, he figured yesterday might be his day at the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.
He wasn't the only guy who felt that way.
On a day of low scoring and a wild scramble for the lead, Toms shot an 8-under-par 64 and wound up in a four-way tie for the lead with Fred Couples, Jeff Sluman, and Bart Bryant.
''I put myself in position today, and that's all I did," Toms said. ''I'm not going to be able to make pars and hope it's good enough. There are too many guys who can do what I did today."
Ten others were within four shots of the lead -- including Tiger Woods, one of the few players stuck in neutral -- setting up what should be a final-round shootout at Muirfield Village.
''You've got to shoot what everyone else is shooting," Couples said after a 66 that put him in the final group at the Memorial for the second straight year. ''I have just as good a chance as eight or 10 guys."
Bryant recovered from a double bogey at No. 2 when he hit his approach into the creek, making five birdies on the back nine, including a 9-iron that stopped just inches behind the cup at the difficult 17th. He had a 66 and joined the other leaders at 12-under 204.
Sluman, who started the afternoon with a one-shot lead, had a chance to finish it that way until a 40-foot birdie putt that he ran up over the fringe slid just below the cup.
While Toms got off to a quick start, Couples made up ground on the back nine. It started with a wedge within 16 inches on the par-3 12th, included a 15-foot eagle putt on the 15th, and culminated with an 18-foot birdie on the final hole, putting him in position to win for the first time in two years.
Woods made three bogeys in his round of 71 and was at 8-under 208. He three-putted for bogey on the second hole, and he never got it going. The three-time Memorial champion is still in range, but only because of a 20-foot par save on the ninth and another from 10 feet on No. 10.
LPGA -- With steely determination and precise putting, Annika Sorenstam shot a 6-under 65 to surge into a tie with Juli Inkster heading into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J.
Sorenstam birdied five of the last seven holes to erase Inkster's opening-round lead, putting both at 10 under for the tournament. The LPGA Hall of Famers will have more than each other to worry about in today's final round: Laura Davies, who shot a tournament-record 62, is one stroke back at 9 under.
Inkster, who started the day with a two-stroke lead over Sorenstam, posted three consecutive birdies early, but finished at 4 under for the round.
Davies, 41, tied her career-low for 18 holes. After an even-par performance Friday, she shot 30 on the front nine, making par on the first two holes and then hitting for an eagle and three birdies on the next four holes. She picked up three more birdies on the back nine.
Champions -- Mike Reid is still going strong after last weekend's head-turning victory in the Senior PGA Championship. He shot a 5-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the
Reid's near-perfect second round -- only one bogey -- left him at 7-under 135. Bob Gilder matched Reid's 66 to pull into contention at 5 under along with Morris Hatalsky (67), Bruce Fleisher (70), and first-round co-leader Tom Jenkins (72).
Gil Morgan and defending champion D.A. Weibring were at 4 under after shooting 67s.
European -- Italy's Alessandro Tadini maintained his lead after three rounds of the Wales Open in Newport despite shooting a 3-over 72.
Tadini, who shot a 62 Friday and has missed 10 of 15 cuts this year, is at 8-under 199, one ahead of Ian Woosnam of Wales (68), Spaniards Jose Manuel Lara (67) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (70), and France's Jean Francois Lucquin (68).