He skipped the next three chances at the Memorial, but didn't have a choice in 2013 when he won the PGA Championship and earned a spot in the Presidents Cup that was held on the course Jack Nicklaus built.
Victorian youngster Brett Coletta, playing just his second US PGA Tour event, shot 72 to remain at three under (tied 27th) and is five shots ahead of countryman Cameron Smith (73) at two over.
The 33-year-old from Utah, who finished third in last year's PGA Championship, trailed midway leader Jason Dufner by five shots overnight but five birdies - and a bogey on the 13th - saw him move into the outright lead on 13 under par ahead of 2013 victor Matt Kuchar. On his back nine, the Dubliner balanced a birdie two on the 12th with a bogey five at 18, and got home in 36 for his 71.
English golfer Chris Wood moved into a one-stroke lead despite a bogey in his last hole in the third round of the Nordea Masters at Malmo, Sweden.
Dufner's bogey-free round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-4 18th, his ninth hole of the day.
Dufner called his third round "pretty pathetic on all accounts, " but added, "I'm still in this tournament".
"If I can drive it like this at the US Open, a major where it's so crucial to drive it straight, it should be a good week", said Leishman.
"I'm excited to have another chance here", Kuchar said.
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Watson offset a birdie at 15 with a bogey at the next, and a ideal 20-foot putt for another birdie on the final green completed a four-under 68 as he chases a first victory since the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in February a year ago.
But he has not yet missed a putt from inside 10 feet, a feat he credits to recent work with a putting training device that has helped his consistency. That put him in the final group with Summerhays as Kuchar tries to end three years and 82 starts without a victory on the PGA Tour. He made three bogeys and a triple bogey in the first round, but has only made three bogeys since then.
"I'd like to be closer", he said.
The 33-year-old hit 13 of 14 fairways and said sustaining his career-best form with the driver would be key to any hope of catching Dufner.
Lowry shot 68 and Harrington carded 71 in round two at Muirfield Village to enter the weekend on four-under par, and two-under par respectively. Spieth, who had missed consecutive cuts before last week, made bogeys at 17 and 18 to finish his front nine, but responded in style.
Jordan Spieth was one shot out of the lead after the opening round but was already eight shots back when he teed off, and all he managed was a 72.
Ironically, a missed cut at last week's DEAN & DELUCA Invitational at Colonial sent him to Muirfield Village on a high note.
World No. 3 Jason Day struggled, needing two late birdies to shoot a three-over 75.