By Zachary Weiss and Chris Dazen
Dublin, OH — After picture perfect conditions all week the wind came into play Sunday. The 87 minute rain delay created a stoppage for a second consecutive day, but it was the winds which approached 20 miles an hour which complicated play.
While most gave a slight concession to the wind affecting play, Matt Kuchar, the 2013 Memorial Tournament champion said it threw a wrench in his plans.
Kuchar had a rather clean card but was derailed by several shots which left him a playing spectator in the final couple of holes.
The biggest was his first hole back out on the course after the rain delay when he recorded a double bogey. This, right after a bogey on the 12th hole just prior to the horn blowing.
“It was certainly very hard,” Kuchar said. “I got lucky on 16 that Gary (Woodland) was kind of the guinea pig. He hit 8-iron over the green, and I thought it was a perfect 7-iron for me from there. It was an easy decision to pull 8. I made a mess of the hole before, 15, having just a wedge in my hand. It was blowing so hard that 96 yards, I thought was playing close to 115. I thought there was enough wind, and I completely kind of miscalculated it from the low spot, hitting a low wedge, was just a bad calculation.”
It was thought that with a logjam leaderboard, Kuchar could use his course knowledge as a past Memorial Tournament champion to his advantage, but his 3-over par 39 on the back-nine ruined his chances.
While Kuchar now have six consecutive top-10 finished at the Memorial Tournament and five consecutive top six finishes, it is not enough to satisfy him.
“I’m very disappointed, but that was a matter of two bad shots really, and those things happen in the game,” said Kuchar. “When I look back at certainly another nice finish, at some point, the nice finishes don’t mean too much. You really look to put your name inside the clubhouse on the winners trophy. That’s where I feel like I stand right now with my game, it’s nice to finish fourth place, but that’s not what I showed up here to do.”
Bogey-free streak ends; so does Woodland
Gary Woodland had gone 33 holes without a bogey. With the wind playing such a factor, it was the person who did not flinch that would come away with the wind.
On the ninth hole, Woodland did not get a clean shot out of the bunker and the ball remained in the sand.
While Woodland just missed making a miraculous par as the ball lipped out of the cup it had an effect on his next two holes as he bogeyed holes 10 and 11.
“Just a shot I hit too hard again,” Woodland said. “I was hitting it solid, which is a good thing. I was just hitting it through the wind. Hitting a spot there that you just can’t hit it over the green there. That was frustrating. “I hit a bad drive on 10. I hadn’t missed a fairway up to that point. I started missing a couple of fairways there. I got it dialed back in late in the round, but it was a little too late.”
After the horn sounded, Woodland was able to play even par during the final stretch of holes but it was not enough to get in the winner’s circle.
“I’ve been playing some pretty dang good golf, especially coming down the stretch,” said Woodland. “I kept hitting good shots, just kept hitting it over the green. Shots that I thought were pretty good, just didn’t have the distance down today, which was frustrating. But it was nice to hit good shots. Hopefully, next week.”