- Bryson DeChambeau birdied the second playoff hole to win the Memorial Tournament, his second victory on Tour.
Few doubted that Bryson DeChambeau would eventually secure a breakout win and cement his status among the crop of elite young American players, alongside age counterparts like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. On Sunday at the Memorial Touranment, DeChambeau did exactly that by birdieing the second playoff hole and winning at Muirfield Village in Jack Nicklaus' tournament.
It's the 24-year-old's second PGA Tour win, as the 2015 U.S. Amateur champion made his debut in the winner's circle at last year's John Deere Classic. DeChambeau had posted three top-four finishes in his six starts prior to the Memorial, including a second place finish at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational.
Despite struggling mightily with his ball striking right from the earlier-than-expected start—the last group teed off at 9:30 local time in anticipation of storms that never materialized—DeChambeau, who began the round with a one-shot lead, managed to scramble his was to a one-under 71. That was good enough to get into a playoff against Kyle Stanley and Byeong-Hun An.
DeChambeau had a chance to win in regulation, as he had a 10-footer for par on the 72nd hole to get in at 16-under. Stanley, who was playing in the final group with DeChambeau and came to the last hole tied with him, had made a bogey after his tee shot hit a tree right of the fairway and richocheted across the fairway into deep rough, forcing him to lay up short of the green. An was already in the clubhouse at 15-under after posting a three-under 69.
But DeChambeau's effort missed on the low side, setting up a three-man playoff that sent the three players back to the 18th tee.
On the first playoff hole, Stanley again found trouble off the tee as his 3-wood finished well right of the fairway just outside a bunker. With the ball sitting roughly waist high, Stanley attempted to get his approach to the green but did not manage to get the ball airborn. He would make a bogey 5. DeChambeau and An both got up and down from just off the green, which eliminated Stanley.
On the second playoff hole, also the 18th, both players found the fairway. An played first and hit a bad pull that finished left of the green, then DeChambeau hit a 9-iron just past the flag. An hit a remarkable flop shot to within a few feet, meaning he would almost certainly make par. That left DeChambeau with a downhill putt for the victory, which he knocked right in the center before letting out a primal scream in celebration.
With the victory, DeChambeau will move inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and is expected to move to eighth on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list.
Fellow twenty-something American, 26-year-old Patrick Cantlay, held the lead for much of the front nine but shot 39 on the back to miss the playoff by one stroke at 14-under. The third member of the final group, 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann, made two double-bogeys en route to a one-over 73. His 13-under total was still good enough for a tie for 6th.
Tiger Woods started the day in a tie for 8th and just five shots off the lead, but his putting struggles continued as he posted a disappointing 72 to finish at nine-under in a tie for 23rd. Phil Mickelson shot 68 to finish in a tie for 13th at 10-under, while Rory McIlroy shot was 11-under on the weekend to finish in a tie for 8th after making the cut on the number. Also finished at 11-under: Justin Thomas, playing his first tournament as the world's top-ranked player, and Dustin Johnson, the man Thomas overtook as world No. 1. Justin Rose would have overtaken Thomas had he been able to win for the second straight week, but the Englishman finished in a tie for 6th at 12-under.