Lingmerth prevails in Memorial Tournament playoff

David Lingmerth is the 2015 Memorial Tournament champion.
David Lingmerth is the 2015 Memorial Tournament champion.

Earlier in the day Jack Nicklaus said he never had taken a selfie. After David Lingmerth won the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide he ended up using FaceTime.

Lingmerth’s wife Megan had her phone on Facetime because it was his father’s birthday and the 18-time major champion ended up giving him a unique birthday present.

A five-foot putt for par allowed David Lingmerth to win the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide on the third playoff hole.

Lingmerth had been in playoffs before, but this time something felt right.

“You win some, you lose some,” Lingmerth said. “I didn’t feel that it was my turn to lose this time.”

Lingmerth, the third to last player to get into the field, defeated 2010 Memorial champion Justin Rose, both of whom finished at -15.

Rose entered the round attempting to be on the short list of two-time winners in tournament history. He left disappointed after missing the fairway on the third playoff hole and ending up in thick rough. He regretted the choice of driver and his second shot got a bit away from him.

“I didn’t have a lie where I could shape the ball very much, so I just tried to dig out a 3-wood,” Rose said. “I couldn’t quite get enough cut on it to get it to the left bunker. It was a poor club off the tee to be honest, I should have hit 3-wood. I will rue that mental decision.”

Lingmerth started out with a birdie on one, a bogey on two and a birdie on three to post a one-under par 35. In his back ninth he birdied 11 and 12 after another bogey on 10. He cited his aggression as a reason why.

“Tried to play that way on the front nine too,” said Lingmerth. “In rounds 1, 2 and 4 my putter was working pretty well and I felt confident when I had those opportunities.”

A birdie on 17 placed pressure on the field and placed Lingmerth in the lead for the time being. Rose answered, also on 17 and after hitting a fan on his approach from a bunker, recorded par on 18 to force a playoff.

On the first playoff hole, Rose made a 19-foot putt with break to save his par. Lingmerth who hit his third shot off the flag stick then had the pressure of making his putt coming back to save par.

“I was thinking to myself that I’d probably have a putt to win the tournament right there,” Lingmerth said. “I was just focusing on trying to get it to go in and then he just drops it in. I took a few moments just to let the crowd and myself calm down because I knew how big that next putt was going to be.”

Jordan Spieth was the leader in the clubhouse while the leaders were going through the meat of the back nine.
Spieth finished at -13 aided by a chip in at the seventh hole and a holed out eagle on 15 from just off the green.

“I had that shot two years ago to the same pin from the left bunker and I made it,” Spieth said of 15. “It was kind of funny to have a similar chip shot on a Sunday and see it go in again. I yelled at it ‘do it, do it’. It was exciting to see it go in.”

His birdie on 18 represented the 250th of the season. Though Spieth did not win it was his 10th top-10 finish of the season.

“This is one of the better rounds I’ve played in a long time,” said Spieth. “It’s not easy playing out there. That was exactly what we needed for some momentum going into the US Open.”

He ended up tied for third with Francesco Molinari. Molinari held the lead for the majority of the front nine. He ended up either tied or in sole possession of the lead until the 16th hole when an 8-iron he thought would carry to the flag ended up in the water hazard. Molinari recorded double bogey on the hole ending his chances.

Molinari said he was watching the leaderboard and knew where he stood going into the shot.

“The shot at 16 will stay in my mind for a while but it was just two or three feet short of being good,” Molinari said. “I tried my best which is what I wanted to do.”

This was the second consecutive playoff at the Memorial Tournament and sixth in tournament history. The three-hole playoff matches the Northern Trust Open and Valspar Championship as the longest of the season.

Hideki Matsuyama, the tournament’s defending champion tied for fifth with Marc Leishman and Jim Furyk. Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner and Keegan Bradley tied for eighth place, rounding out the top-10.

“I was really hoping and trying to do my best to go back-to-back,” said Matsuyama through interpreter Bob Turner. “It was bittersweet but I’m glad I played as well as I did.”

Lingmerth’s best previous finish was a tie for second place in the Humana Challenge and THE PLAYERS Championship. Lingmerth, 27, also won the 2012 Neediest Kids Championship on the Web.com Tour. The 2014-15 PGA Tour media guide says Lingmerth would like to play Augusta National and now he has that chance as well as a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

He is the 10th international-born player to win this season the PGA Tour and ninth player from Sweden to earn a victory.

Furyk played with Lingmerth during the round and came away impressed.

“I really haven’t played with him before today,” Furyk said. “He hits it plenty far, but I thought it was more control. I thought he was really able to work the ball and hit a lot of good golf shots today.”

While there were some low scores throughout the weekend, the lead was 12-under par halfway through the Memorial Tournament. 15-under par was the score to get in the playoff which showed how tough the course played through the weekend.

“I think the weather was beautiful all week but the last two days, I feel were a little bit more challenging,” said Lingmerth. “This course was not quite as slow over the week, I think. You can’t short side yourself out there. With those pin positions, it was pretty difficult the last two days.”

The tournament will return in 2016 with Johnny Miller as the 2016 Memorial Tournament honoree and both Horton Smith and Leo Diegel being honored posthumously.

Author: Zac Weiss

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