Patrick Cantlay sank a clutch-par putt on the first playoff hole this past Sunday to defeat Collin Morikawa and win the The Memorial tournament for the second time in three years.
World No 15 Cantlay sank a 14-foot birdie putt on the 71st hole in regulation play to grab a share of the lead, then rolled in a 12-foot par putt on the first extra hole and won when US compatriot Morikawa, the 2020 PGA Championship winner, couldn’t match him from eight feet.
Cantlay, the 2019 Memorial winner, and sixth-ranked Morikawa each fired one-under par 71 in the final round to finish 72 holes on 13-under 275 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.
The course was still abuzz after third-ranked Jon Rahm’s stunning departure Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19.
The Spaniard had fired a 64 to grab a six-stroke lead before being forced to withdraw as Morikawa and Cantlay went from a distant second to the 54-hole lead.
‘Such a weird situation and so unfortunate,’ Cantlay said. ‘Me included, everybody knows it would be a totally different day today had that not happened.’
Dealing with the title going from almost out of reach to up for grabs required Cantlay to regroup.
‘Nothing I can do about it. I tried to get refocused,’ he said. ‘I hit a lot of shaky shots at the start but I reset and hit a lot of clutch shots down the stretch.’
Cantlay (29) captured his fourth PGA title, the first since last October’s Zozo Championship at Sherwood.
Morikawa (24) missed out on his fifth PGA title on the same course where he won a Covid-19 replacement tournament last July.
In the playoff on the par-four 18th hole, Morikawa found the fairway but with mud on his ball while Cantlay was on a slope in the right rough.
Morikawa hit a 6-iron into left greenside rough while Cantlay blasted an 8-iron shot into a left bunker.
Morikawa punched out to eight feet from the hole while Cantlay blasted 12 feet past the cup, but rolled in his putt while Morikawa missed to end the day-long battle.
‘It sucks to lose a playoff, but today was a grind and that’s all I could focus on,’ Morikawa said. ‘I couldn’t really hit a green for my life.
‘To get into a playoff, to make the putts I needed just to keep myself in it, I’m proud of myself. It’s crazy. It’s going to be something I’m going to learn from a lot, just look back and see how I can grow from this.’
American Scottie Scheffler was third on 277 with South African Brenden Grace on 278 and American Patrick Reed fifth on 280.
Scheffler blasted out of a bunker to three feet and birdied the par-five 15th to share the lead with Morikawa and Cantlay at 12 under.
Morikawa birdied 15 from just inside eight feet to seize the lead alone at 13 under.
Cantlay missed birdie putts from just outside eight feet at 15 and the par-three 16th to stay one back.
Heavy rain struck when the leaders reached the 17th green and play was briefly halted just after Morikawa chipped his third shot from wet rough to just inside 12 feet while Cantlay was inside 24 feet with his second.
When play resumed a few minutes later, Cantlay rolled in his birdie putt as the crowd roared, matching Morikawa for the lead.
Morikawa followed by sinking his par putt on the left side of the cup to bring another roar and keep his share of the lead at 13 under.
A bogey at 18 sealed Scheffler’s fate while the co-leaders parred to force the playoff, Cantlay going just right of the cup from 25 feet on a birdie putt to win before both tapped in.
Cantlay and Morikawa each had two birdies and three bogeys on the front nine. Morikawa made an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-five 11th to take the lead but Cantlay answered by rolling in a birdie putt from just outside 17 feet at the par-four 13th.
© Agence France-Presse