Swede David Lingmerth needed three extra holes and a huge set of confidence to defeat Justin Rose in a playoff to win the 40th Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Lingmerth fired a final round 69 to post the clubhouse lead on 15-under-par 273 and was joined by 54-hole leader Justin Rose moments later after the Englishman made a ridiculous up-and-down on the final hole. Jordan Spieth and Francesco Molinari finished two shots out of the playoff tied for third.
For the second year in a row and only the sixth time in history the Memorial came down to a playoff and Lingmerth was up to the task. His first runner-up finish came in a playoff to Brian Gay at the 2013 Humana but today he broke through for his first win on TOUR. He played his last eight holes in three-under to set the clubhouse lead and held his nerve to make three gutty pars to win the playoff. The first playoff hole saw him watch Rose hole a 19-footer for par making his 14-footer that much tougher. He answered and Rose knew the game was on. Lingmerth sealed the deal with on the third hole with a two-putt from 42 feet as Rose couldn't get up-and-down from behind the green and the title was his.
So much for first-timers and young guys having problems at Memorial! Hideki Matsuyama had never played an event here and won last year and Molinari was leading until a water ball on No. 16 saw him drop to T3. The course was in perfect shape this week as the Columbus-Dublin area hadn't been saturated this spring. The rough was solid and the smallish greens were perfect so risk and reward were in high abundance. Scoring conditions were perfect the first two days before the wind started to blow on the weekend. Lingmerth was just one of a few in the top 10 that learned us previous experience here is NOT a prerequisite to current success.
Jack Nicklaus has set this track up to reward really good golf shots and punish those that are errant. The greens were fast and perfect according to the comments from most of the pros this week. The closing holes provided plenty of drama and that has been the case since his redesign. Lingmerth by far is the least decorated player to win this tournament as he entered the week not even in the top 200 of the official OWGR and doesn't hit it too far out of his own shadow!
Gamers please note that Patrick Rodgers finished high enough to gain enough FedExCup points to possibly accept Special Temporary Membership for the rest of the season. Click on his link above for more details.
Why This Performance Doesn’t Surprise:
Golf is a meritocracy and if a guy has status on TOUR, there's little doubt he can play. This week showed when a player gets into a groove at this level anything, including knocking out a big-time leader board can happen. Gamers must realize this is the exception, not the rule, and we all must take our medicine and move on. We all have short memories but I liken this to No. 279 James Hahn knocking out Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson earlier this season in a playoff at Riviera. Remember, these guys, all of them to an extent on their week, are really, really good.
Why This Performance Surprises:
Lingmerth have never fired a round in the 60s in eight previous chances the last two years at Memorial as his best effort was 70 twice so to say his 67-65-72-69 was expected wouldn't be accurate. Entering the week Lingmerth's best finish in 18 previous events this season was T13 in March at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill. That's some double if your two best results are at the tournaments of two of the greatest ever! After his T13 he rattled off four MCs sprinkled in with T44 and T33 so the arrow was hardly pointing in the right direction. He entered the week No. 103 in strokes gained: tee-to-green and No. 144 strokes gained: putting. He was No. 111 in scoring average.
How Lingmerth Won This Week:
He made 22 birdies and an eagle so he brought his scoring boots.
He was T1 strokes gained: total.
He played all four rounds at par or better with three in the 60s.
He was the 36-hole leader after ripping off 14 birdies against only two bogeys. He made only five more bogeys on the week for a total of seven, good for T8.
He found seven greenside bunkers and got up-and-down six times, T1 for the week.
He was T11 in fairways, T16 in GIR and third in SGP. When I talk about having a week, well, there you go! Not bad for a guy who was 61st of 71 in driving distance!
His first playoff on TOUR resulted in P2 at Humana. His next T2 was at THE PLAYERS that same year, 2013. Last season he was T8 at Honda and T5 at Colonial. He lit up the Web.com finals to regain his TOUR card for this season. He won't have to worry about that for a while! It's interesting that outside of his first big finish all the rest have come on some of most difficult tracks on TOUR outside of the majors. They say winning on the PGA TOUR changes your life forever so like you, I'll be sitting right here making my notes to see how he handles the success going forward. He's only 27 and this is only his third full season on TOUR. He's shown enough game to factor but the level of consistency is always what gamers are looking to figure out.
With This Win:
The No. 212 player in the OWGR is, like the Jefferson's, movin' on up! The best part of winning either Arnie or Jack's tournament now is that he (or any winner) receives a THREE year exemption. That's huge as he'll be exempt through 2017-2018. He's in the PGA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational but he missed the cutoff for the U.S. Open and will have to qualify just like rest of those who aren't already in tomorrow morning.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After 28 wins in 45 events last season, the USA has continued the dominance this year but not this week for the second week in a row.
Brooks Koepka, Bill Haas, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman, Bubba Watson, Ryan Moore, Robert Streb, Ben Martin, Brandt Snedeker, James Hahn (born in Korea; US citizen), Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Every, Walker again, J.B. Holmes, Spieth again, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Chris Kirk are the USA champs.
Alex Cejka (Germany), Paddy Harrington (Ireland), Sangmoon Bae (Korea), Nick Taylor (Canada), Jason Day (Australia), Justin Rose (England), McIlroy times two (Northern Ireland), Aussie Steven Bowditch and Lingmerth (Sweden) are the 10 international winners in 30 events. It’s quite the global game in the sense that eight of the nine international winners have come from eight DIFFERENT countries.
Haas, Bae, Martin, Moore, Walker and Spieth have closed their 54-hole leads. Walker, Spieth and Kirk are the only persons on BOTH sides of this list; Walker couldn’t close out at HTOC but came back and won the following week at Sony. Spieth, who was 0-4 with the 54-hole lead in his career on TOUR, couldn’t hold out at SHO before winning the Masters. Kirk couldn’t close his 54-hole lead at THE PLAYERS but had no trouble coming off the pace at Colonial. Rose adds his name to this list as his three-shot lead evaporated. Only 10 players in 29 events (no 54-hole leader at WGC-Match Play) have finished the job. It ain't over til' it's over!
After 13 first-time winners in 2013 there were only 10 last year. After 30 events in 2015 Lingmerth joins Martin, Streb, Taylor, Koepka, Hahn and Cejka on breaking through.
Lingmerth and Matsuyama make it back-to-back TOUR virgins to win at Jack's place. Ok, then!
Matsuyama is still the only winner to break his maiden in his first tournament appearance. Molinari gave it heck of a run trying to match!
Tiger Woods, woof, remains the only player ever to defend his title but that seems like two lifetimes ago, sadly.
Of the last six winners, three are internationals and now nine of 40 winners are from foreign shores.
The course record 61 was never in doubt as 64 was as low as they could go this week.
Tom Lehman's tournament record, 20-under, was never in jeopardy either as no player sniffed that magic number.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
I annually keep track of the age of the winners on TOUR because I’m an ageist. GET OFF MY VIAGRA.
Bae got the youngsters (under 30) on the board first in 2014-15 followed by Martin and Streb, both 27. Nick Taylor, 26, popped in to close out 2014 at SFC. Reed joined the party at a whopping 24 at HTOC followed by Koepka, 25 in Phoenix and Jason Day, 27, at Torrey Pines. Spieth, who turns 22 on 29 July, has won at Valspar and Augusta. McIlroy turned 26 on Monday, May 4. Fowler, 26, and McIlroy won again at Quail Hollow. Lingmerth turns 28 in July. The youngsters now have 12 winners in 30 events this year.
Dustin Johnson (30), James Hahn (33), Brandt Snedeker (34),Bill Haas (32), Jimmy Walker TWICE (36), Charley Hoffman (37), Bubba Watson (36), Ryan Moore (31), Matt Every (31), J.B. Holmes (32),Justin Rose (34), Chris Kirk (30) and Bowditch, 31, are the prime time guys with silverware (30-39 years).
The old guys (40-and-over) have Jim Furyk, Paddy Harrington and Alex Cejka as representatives in their smallish club in 2015. To nobody's surprise Jim Furyk was the highest-finisher for the old guys this week with T5. Honorable mention to Vijay Singh, who's quietly playing well of late, was T11.
What I learned from the finishers INSIDE the top 10 this week.
Justin Rose: He'll be just as disappointed as his investors this week that he couldn't close the deal but gamers will be happy to see him back to his almost best after a quiet month. He just missed out advancing in Match Play, MC at THE PLAYERS and T38 at the BMW at Wentworth. He adds this P2 to his T2 at Augusta and victory at the Zurich Classic so in all a very solid spring. He'll be one of the favorites at Chambers Bay and anywhere else he tees it up this summer.
Francesco Molinari: His form entering the week made him to be an excellent flier as he had never seen the course in tournament action before. Well, he buried THAT thought quickly with 68-67 to get the week started. I found it interesting that he remarked he enjoys putting fast greens as opposed to slow greens and that goes in the memory bank for future endeavors. He doesn't like slow greens as he struggles getting the ball to the hole; all he needs is a good line on faster greens and at 13' this week, he wasn't lying! He missed a chance to be the first Italian to ever win on TOUR by about three yards as his tee ball on No. 16 went for a swim when he was 15-under. He made double and that was that. He only made five bogeys for the week) and led the field in GIR on these smallish greens. Unlucky. His last four worldwide are T2-5th-T51-T3. That's fire!
Jordan Spieth: I'm not sure who can beat him when he puts together four rounds. For the second time in three weeks one "off" round (73 at Colonial, 72 Saturday here) saw him hit the podium instead of picking up a winner's check. He constantly proves that age and almost on a weekly basis. He's 22. This week was going to test his iron play on these smallish, tough-to-hit greens. He made four bogeys (and two doubles) on the week to lead the field. He didn't putt it well (T41), hit a ton of GIR (T31) or fairways (T23) and missed the playoff by two shots. He had the low round of the day on Sunday, 65, by two shots. He good.
Marc Leishman: OH, SO IT'S THIS WEEK YOU HIT THE TOP FIVE, GOT IT. I'm not angry. He was my OAD last week on a course that he never finished worse that T12 but MC. Well, he had never finished better than T37 in six tries and posted three rounds in the 60s. Fantasy golf is hard. Since getting back on TOUR full time after his wife's health scare, he's posted just two rounds over 71 in six events so he's been brewing. He had a great week from the tee box to picking it out of the holes and made 23 birdies (T2) on the week.
Hideki Matsuyama: He opened with 64 and proved last year wasn't a fluke as he finished T5. He made five birdies on his final nine inward stretch but like Molinari rinsed his tee shot on No. 16. He sucked it up and birdied the last for another big finish. His ball-striking wasn't as crisp as we've seen but his putter, when he hit the greens, answered the call (10th PPGIR). He's having way more ups than downs and like Spieth, he's proving to be weekly commodity regardless of age/experience/course form.
Jim Furyk: He's now 17 of 18 at Memorial and his T5 is top 10 No. 7 in his storied career. This was his first since 2010 and now he's hit the top five in three of his last five starts on TOUR. Gamers will point out T56 and MC in his last two didn't inspire them this week but Furyk reinforced knowing where NOT to miss it still works at Memorial. He trailed only Molinari in GIR for the week.
Tony Finau: His inspired run of spring golf continues as he hits the top 20 for the fourth week in a row and the last two have been T10 (ATTBNC) and T8 this week. In his first visit to Memorial he racked up 21 birdies and an eagle as he hit almost 73% GIR (T6). He didn't love the greens but he made enough of them when they counted and his 67 on Sunday moved him up from T24. He had the round of the day outside of that Spieth kid!
Keegan Bradley: Similar to Leishman, Bradley had never hit the top 25 in his first four tries at Muirfield Village but the birthday boy on Sunday rallied to finish T8. His 65 on Saturday shot him into the top 10 and his 70 on Sunday kept him there for the first time since T5 at SHO before the Masters. His 22 birdies were T6 for the week and gamers will be excited to see he was 17th in SGP on slick greens.
Kevin Kisner: Now make it 23 of his last 24 rounds 71 or better as he finished in the top 10 for the fourth time in his last six including his last two. I mentioned I loved his resiliency and that was on display Sunday as three bogeys in five holes in the middle stretch looked like it was going to derail his week. He rallied with birdies in three of his final five to keep it under par and in the top 10. Gamers should have saddle sores by now but they hurt so good! He had a fabulous week across the board so there's no flukin' it around these parts!
A quick recap of what happened to the Chalk from my preview column:
Jordan Spieth: T3, wash, rinse, repeat.
Dustin Johnson: He made FOUR doubles, had a terrible ball-striking week and finished T13. He shot 65 on Saturday with one of those doubles and a regular bogey. Tune it up and it's all good.
Hideki Matsuyama: T5, see above.
Justin Rose: P2, see above.
Chris Kirk: Fired a 69 on Sunday to jump 22 spots to T36 after 76 on Saturday sunk his chances. He didn't hit many fairways or greens in his win at Colonial but made everything. This week he was 56th SGP. Easy answer.
Kevin Na: He doubled the final hole to fall out of the top 10 and finished T13. This was his second finish outside of the top 12 since March 1. Stay the course, expect nothing but solid play and his 23 birdies on the week (T2) are more evidence that he's dialed in.
Bill Haas: He played his last seven holes four-under to move up 24 spots to T18. He parred the place to death as his ball-striking was excellent; his putter not so much. The last three years are T4-T8-T18 so a solid investment.
Matt Kuchar: For the second straight year he's had his worst finish since being a regular since 2007 as he posted 74 to close T26. Was it that obvious that he was my OAD or did someone tell him? Not even the large landing areas could help his driver which only found 57% of the fairways (T63). My bad, Kuch! It can't happen again so go win your next one!
Jim Furyk: T5, see above.
Rickie Fowler: Sigh. MC. Just when gamers want to pounce and start collecting on a weekly basis, Fowler starts Fowlering. That's now back-to-back MCs in his last two and nothing better than T22 since his runner up in 2010. Maybe this ain't the place...
Pat Perez: His run of six straight T26 or better fizzled out on the back of 75-76 on the weekend. Thanks for the ride PP! I enjoyed thi$! T57.
Brooks Koepka: He entered Sunday T24 and a low one could have seen him jump up the board but his 78 saw him do the exact opposite. This first-timer hit it all over the shop and he opened his inward nine with three consecutive doubles to stunt his Sunday. T52.
Billy Horschel: T41-T15 and now T11 this week after all four rounds 71 or better including a very nice 69 on Sunday. A five on the final hole kept him from his first top 10 since Valero but this is five cuts on the bounce and the last three have been T17 or better. He won't miss the final three holes here as he was seven-over on the trio for the week. Once he get those figured out, watch out!
Kevin Kisner: T8, see above.
Russell Henley: Oh, wow. He found only 42% GIR from hitting 71% of the fairways. MC.
Ryan Moore: Sitting pretty and ready to pounce after opening 67-67, Moore crashed to Earth with 75-72 on the weekend to finish T18. This makes seven finishes of T22 or better in his last nine at Memorial so he rewarded the course horse players to a degree.
Ben Martin: MC, 75-71 in his second attempt. That broke a streak of five weekends in a row but I'm not disjointed. Carry on!
I’ll publish my weekly preview, Range Rover, around lunchtime, children permitting. I’ll focus on history, current form, course characteristics, winning qualities and those who I think will and will not.
Coming TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday late afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, DFS plus the European Tour! Oh, and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it every Tuesday until the Presidents Cup.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesdayat NOON ET.We will be breaking down the field at the FedEx St. Jude Classic plus answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/mikeglasscott) on Twitter.