Bryson DeChambeau wins the Memorial with birdie on the second playoff hole
On Saturday, Bryson DeChambeau said this week at the Memorial Tournament was the best he had putted since his U.S. Amateur victory in 2015. So it was fitting that when he needed to hole a 10-footer for birdie to earn his second career PGA Tour title in a playoff, he poured it in, defeating South Korea's Byeong Hun An on the second extra hole.
"I can't believe I did it today," DeChambeau said. "I knew I struggled with my ball-striking all week, [but] I was putting it great, wedging it great around the greens. I was fortunate enough to somehow get it back into play and get up and down pretty much almost every hole."
The 24-year-old ranked sixth in strokes gained/putting and first in scrambling at week's end, highlighting what a grind it was to finish off the win at a course as difficult as Muirfield Village. An exhausted DeChambeau had trouble putting it into words.
"I can't even describe it right now," he said. "Just to be able to win [Jack Nicklaus'] event is such an honor. He's the greatest to play. To be able to do that, I am speechless honestly."
DeChambeau lone previous win came last July at the John Deere Classic, where he carded a back-nine 30 on Sunday to edge Patrick Rodgers by one shot. This Sunday went a bit differently, as DeChambeau stumbled in the final holes, bogeying the 14th and the 18th to shoot one-under 71 and drop into a three-way tie with An and Kyle Stanley at 15-under 273. DeChambeau eventually came out on top to continue a strong 2017-'18 campaign on tour, one that included five finishes inside the top seven before his latest breakthrough.
Four straight rounds in the 60s, including Sunday's three-under 69, weren't enough for An, but the T-2 finish is his best this season. It also matches the best of his career, with his other T-2 coming at the 2016 Zurich Classic.
While Stanley was the first to be eliminated in the playoff, just getting to extra holes was an impressive feat, as he birdied four straight beginning at the par-4 14th to tie DeChambeau at 16 under. But Muirfield Village's tough par-4 18th proved to be his nemesis, as he bogeyed it in both regulation and the playoff,as he attempted to grab his career tour win.
Amazingly, it was a man not in the playoff that looked like he was going to cruise to victory on a day when the tee times were moved up early when rain and storms were forecasted for the afternoon. Patrick Cantlay went out in four-under 32 to get to 17 under. But he struggled mightily on the final nine, making bogeys at the 12th, 14th and 17th holes to fall back to 14 under. His last ditch birdie effort at the 72nd hole came up inches short, and his final-round 71 put him one stroke out of the playoff. Still, the solo fourth gives him his fifth top-10 finish this season, and he's optimistic about his game heading into the U.S. Open, where he'll be making his third career appearance and his first since 2012.
"Putting yourself in position is what it's about," said Cantlay. "The more you can do that, the better off you're going to be. I put myself in position, played great all week, and so I feel like my game's in a good spot and really looking forward to the U.S. Open."
One of the best rounds of the day belonged to Peter Uihlein, who climbed 16 spots on the leader board after firing a six-under 66 to get to 13-under 275. He finished in solo fifth, giving him three top 5s on the year, the first two coming at the Wells Fargo and the WGC-HSBC Champions.
Chile's Joaquin Niemann birdied his 72nd hole for a final-round 73, putting him in a tie for sixth with Justin Rose at 12-under 276. Niemann, 19, now has three finishes inside the top eight in just five starts as a professional. Rose, who came off his second win of the season last week at Colonial, has now finished T-8 or better in six of his 11 events this season.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Rodgers rounded out the top 10, each finishing at 11-under 277 to tie for eighth. Tiger Woods challenged the leaders early in his round, but eventually faded down the stretch, shooting an even-par 72 to tie for 23rd at nine-under 279.