By Chris Dazen
Dublin, Ohio — Justin Rose thought he had it in the bag on the 18th green.
Locked in a playoff with David Lingmerth after both shooting 15 under for the final round at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Rose sunk an improbable first hole playoff putt on 18 to put the pressure on Lingmerth to make his.
“When I made the putt on that first extra hole, I thought, wow, I’m going to steal this one,” Rose said, “But it wasn’t meant to be.”
Lingmerth ended up making his putt to force two more playoff holes in the longest ever playoff held at Muirfield Village Country Club to became the eventual winner of the Memorial Tournament.
“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,” Lingmerth said of his putt to force those extra playoff holes.
Rose, who entered the day as the leader of the Memorial Tournament, entered the 18th hole tied with Lingmerth but his second shot made it seem impossible he would be in position to have a chance. An errant “shank” with his 8-iron out of the bunker, stuck a fan in the head leaving Rose a little shaken up emotionally and 56 yards to the pin.
“It’s always horrible when you get up there and realize you’ve hit somebody, especially on the head,” said Rose of the incident.
Rose regained his composure, hitting next shot two feet from the pin and made par to begin a three hole playoff with Lingmerth.
Rose’s overall performance on the day was both up and down. Bogeys at the 3rd and 4th holes “sucked the momentum” from his game as he continued to struggle missing short putts on six and seven. From then on, it was a fight for Rose to find his game and give himself a chance.
“I thought I did a very good job of fighting as hard as I could, and getting myself into that playoff,” said Rose. “Recording birdie on 17 and that great up-and-down on 18 to force that playoff I was very happy with.”
The highlight of the three hole playoff was the brilliant putt to force that second playoff hole, and Rose had some extra motivation to make that putt thanks to a fan.
“I tried to make a very big swing and almost hit a glancing blow that just dropped to the front of the green and trickled down, but caught a little too much ball, to which someone shouted ‘Great shot you hack.’ I thought that’s a little harsh, but that gave me a bit more incentive to make that putt.” Rose said about the moment.
A very typical hole of golf followed and on to a third playoff hole, which took place on the 10th hole, they went.
Rose hit driver, but it proved to be the wrong club and not the one he originally planned to hit. His ball ended up in the rough.
“It was a poor club off the tee, to be honest. I should have hit 3-wood,” Rose said of his club selection.
From there, it was Lingmerth’s Tournament to win.”
Rose’s second shot went long and back into a group of fans behind the green. His chip from there ended up back in the rough. Meanwhile, Lingmerth drove the fairway, hit an iron shot to the green and parred out for his first PGA win.
Rose will have to settle for second place, but he now has his hopes set on the U.S. Open as he will use Sunday’s performance as a confidence builder for Chambers Bay.