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Cameron Smith is tied second but has labelled his play "pretty unacceptable" after falling five shots behind runway leader Billy Horschel at the PGA Tour's Memorial tournament.
World No.3 Smith started Saturday's third round at Muirfield Village with a one-stroke lead but ran into trouble immediately, with bogeys from the bunker on the first two holes, before battling back for an even par 72.
Meanwhile Horschel delivered a gem with a seven-under 65 to break clear at 13-under 203.
Not only did Horschel make seven birdies, he has gone 44 consecutive holes without a bogey on a tough course where the greens have been getting increasingly firm.
The task appears daunting for Smith as he seeks a sixth PGA Tour win.
The largest comeback at the Memorial is five shots, most recently 15 years ago by K.J. Choi.
Then again, players have rallied from seven shots behind to win on the PGA Tour the last two weeks - Sam Burns at Colonial and Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
"There was lots of not-so-good stuff out there today, and just stuck in there," said Smith.
"I really have to go out there tomorrow and have to hit it better. Today was pretty unacceptable to be honest."
Smith acknowledged the difficulty of the Muirfield Village course put a big premium on shot making and said his driving especially needed to be better if he was to challenge.
The course is so tough out here, it seems like you need to hit shot after shot perfectly, otherwise you're going to be throwing some hefty par putts in and even bogey putts."
Horschel cared more about how he was playing - very well - than the size of his lead.
"I just go to the tee understanding I'm leading the tournament. I know I've got however many shots I have ahead," said Horschel who is seeking his seventh PGA Tour win.
"I'm not going to be protective, I'm not going to be overly aggressive. I'm going to play the way I have the last three days.
"We're going to hit the golf shots that are required, and I know if we do that it's going to give me the best chance to be victorious come tomorrow."
Daniel Berger had a 67 and six shots behind along with Jhonattan Vegas and former British Open champion Francesco Molinari, who hasn't had a top-five finish since the 2019 Masters.
Defending champion Patrick Cantlay began his round by pulling his tee shot into a stream and making double bogey. He atoned for that with a pair of eagles, finished with three straight par putts from outside 8 feet and shot 69. He was seven beind.