Casey opens up three-shot lead

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England’s Paul Casey took full advantage of Rory McIlroy’s capitulation at the Memorial Tournament on Friday.

While overnight leader McIlroy crashed out of the lead with a disastrous 78, Casey went from strength to strength, adding a second successive 66 to take his total to 12 under par.

Casey’s round included an eagle, six birdies and two dropped shots for a three-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson.

“I was ecstatic with the way I played,” Casey said on www.pgatour.com. “There was a couple of mistakes in there but that’s Muirfield Village. It’s a tricky golf course and you don’t need to do a lot wrong to make a mistake.”

“To be honest, I thought I was going to be playing a round to try and maybe catch a couple of guys,” he added. “I woke up checking the scores to see what Rory was going to be. That’s really what I was going to be doing – see how many under I was going to have to try to shoot to chase. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”

Watson follows on 9 under after a 69, while Chris Kirk (70) lies on 8 under and Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Martin Flores (68) are a shot further back.

McIlroy plummeted down the leaderboard after picking up three consecutive double-bogeys from the 13th.

He now lies on 3 under, nine shots off Casey’s lead.

“I missed fairways, that was a big thing, I didn’t realise how thick the rough was until I got into it today. Obviously that three-hole stretch, 13, 14, 15, didn’t help. Take those three holes out of it and it wouldn’t actually have been that bad a day,” he said.

“It’s not disastrous even though I had such a bad day.”

Behind Matsuyama and Flores are group of four on six under – Thorbjorn Olesen, Hunter Mahan, Ryan Moore and Scott Langley.

Justin Rose was among those who failed to make the cut, the former US Open winner adding a 72 to his first-round 73.

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