There has been a trend on TOUR this season of playoff golf and first-time winners. Those trends continued this weekend at the Memorial Tournament, as David Lingmerth picked up his first PGA TOUR victory in a three-hole playoff against Justin Rose.
Sunday’s leaderboard saw a lead change on almost every hole as Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, and David Lingmerth battled for the honor to win Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. Molinari knocked himself out of contention with a double-bogey on the par 3 16th. Rose, who was in the final pairing with Molinari, had a setback himself with a bogey on the same hole. Needing a birdie on 17 to stay in contention, Rose bombed a 373-yard drive in the middle of the fairway and would leave himself with a ten foot birdie putt on his approach shot. Rose drained the birdie putt sending roars down the 18th hole, where Lingmerth was finishing up with a 3-under 69 to take the clubhouse lead. Rose stepped up to the 18th tee box , put his drive in the right side fairway bunker, and shanked his approach shot into the crowd, sniping some poor sap directly in the head. Rose needed to get up and down for par to force a playoff with Lingmerth and he did just that, knocking his his chip within three feet to give the fans at Muirfield Village some free golf.
The first hole of the playoff was up for grabs after both golfers made a mess of the hole. Neither guy was on in regulation, but Lingmerth almost ended it with a chip in that ran right past the hole. With both golfers needing to make lengthy par putts, Rose stepped up first and sank his 20-footer to make his longest putt of the day and put the pressure on Lingmerth. Lingmerth showed no signs of fear as he stepped up and drained his 10-footer to match Rose’s par and extend the playoff.
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After both golfers parred the second hole to extend the playoff, Rose struggled on the third hole of the playoff and Lingmerth was left with a par putt just inside of five feet to win. It wasn’t easy, but Lingmerth earned his first PGA TOUR victory in what was the longest playoff in the 40 year history of the Memorial.
Jordan Spieth entered Sunday nine shots back of the lead and not a hope of contending, but put together an impressive 7-under to finish tied for 3rd. Spieth’s fourth round included two chip-ins, one on the 7th hole and then one for eagle on the 15th to enter with the clubhouse lead at 13-under. Spieth got his 17th top 25 finish at a PGA TOUR event, the most of any golfer before the age of 22.
“Seeing all my buddies come out here and have a lot of success, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get out here as quick as I can,” Rodgers said.
One of Spieth’s good friends got some good news at the Memorial this week. 22-year old Patrick Rodgers gained his special temporary membership, allowing him to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season. Rodgers’ membership was in jeopardy after a triple-bogey on 16, but birdied 17 with a 47-foot hole out and then birdied 18 to seal the deal.
The heartfelt story of the week comes from two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton. Compton was dining at a local Dublin, Ohio restaurant during the Memorial this week and began conversing with his waitress. The two got on the topic of Compton being a heart transplant recipient and the waitress told him that her nephew had passed away eight years ago in an motorcycle accident. Erik asked what her nephew’s name was and when she told him, he was shocked as to what he heard. Her nephew’s heart was the one Compton had received in his second transplant. You can’t make that stuff up, folks.
The TOUR heads to Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where golfers will have one last event to prepare for the U.S. Open which begins on June 18th.