Rickie Fowler, the new kid in golf, gave himself a chance yesterday to be the next kid to win on the PGA Tour.

The 21-year-old Fowler ran off three straight birdies late in his round for a 6-under-par 66 to tie the 36-hole record at the Memorial Tournament and take a three-shot lead over Justin Rose into the weekend at soggy Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

Fowler was at 13-under 131. That tied the tournament record set by Scott Hoch in 1987.

"Just being in contention the few times I have over the last 8 months, this is by far the best I've felt," Fowler said.

Defending champion Tiger Woods was just inside the projected cut line when he started, and with his lackluster play, there was some question whether he would be around for all four rounds in his final event before the U.S. Open.

He birdied three of the opening five holes, then ran off three straight birdies on his front nine to offset the few mistakes for a 69. He was at 3-under 141, 10 shots behind, but still playing.

"I hit more good shots today than I did yesterday, and really putted well," Woods said.

Phil Mickelson, who has another chance to become No. 1 with a victory, had a birdie-birdie-eagle stretch on the front nine, but gave it back by missing one par putt after another on the back nine. He closed with two straight birdies for a 71 that put him at 6-under 138, seven shots behind.

In other tournaments:

* Tommy Armour III matched the course record with an 8-under 63 to take a three-stroke lead over Dan Forsman and Russ Cochran after the first round of the Champions Tour's Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa.

* Top-seeded Oklahoma State cruised to a 4-1 victory over Stanford to advance to the NCAA Division I men's golf semifinals in Chattanooga, Tenn. In the other quarterfinals, Florida State beat Texas Tech, 4-1, and Augusta State held off Georgia Tech, 3-2.

Noteworthy

* Colin Montgomerie said his performance as European Ryder Cup captain will not be affected by a newspaper report that he was unfaithful to his wife.

The 47-year-old golfer cheated on his wife Gaynor with a former neighbor, Joanne Baldwin, according to a report in the Daily Mirror. The paper said he had ended the relationship and was trying to save his 2-year marriage. *