Magnificent Cantlay Produces Spectacular Final Round to Win at Jack's Place

By: | Mon 03 Jun 2019 | Comments


Patrick Cantlay shot a magnificent final round of 64 to win the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village as Martin Kaymer’s dreams of an unlikely first victory since 2014 fell apart. The German, looking for his first success since the US Open, appeared to be cruising towards a long-awaited comeback success when he led by four, but four bogeys proved to be costly.

In the end, he finished in third place on 15 under, three behind Cantlay and one shot adrift of Australia's Adam Scott in second. Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, himself looking for a first win since the 2017 Open Championship, was tied seventh on 10 under for his best finish of the season, while Masters champion Tiger Woods finished on nine under after a brilliant final-round charge briefly threatened to produce the most unlikely of victories in a tournament he has won five times.

The 15-time major champion had seven birdies in his first 12 holes, but his charge slowed down on the back nine with bogeys on the 14th and final hole. Woods said: "I hit the ball so crisp and solid. I made some nice putts on the front nine. I wanted have something positive going into the US Open by sneaking into a top 10 - I wanted to end on double figures but it wasn't to be."

Cantlay was embraced by Jack Nicklaus, founder of the course, and said afterwards that the moment with the 18-time major winner "meant a lot”. Nicklaus had also given the former world amateur champion advice on how to close out. Cantlay added: "He told me to take a breath, sit back and enjoy the moment."

Former US Open champion Justin Rose was the best of the British players as he finished 13th on eight under, while England's Danny Willett and Scot Russell Knox were four under for the tournament. England's Luke Donald, who shot a 65 on Saturday, concluded his tournament with a horrific 80.

It was Cantlay’s first victory since the 2017 Shriners and afterwards he admitted that Nicklaus had urged him to try to enjoy his golf more. He admitted that he struggles to smile on the golf course.

"I understand that's my look. I try and be natural. So I try and be how I am all the time. And that's kind of how I am all the time,” Cantlay said. “I was walking in this morning and somebody said, 'it can't be that bad, can it?' And I don't even realise that’s the look on my face. I was in a great mood this morning. But I feel like if I tried to be any way else, it wouldn't be me. I'd be trying to force it. So I just try and be me out there. I definitely am focused and intent on what I'm doing. And I think that's part of me and I think that's part of why I have success.”

His eight-under-par 64 is the best ever final round by a winner at the Memorial. It pushed him to 19-under 269. Only Tom Lehman (268 in 1994) has been lower over four rounds. He was the world’s best amateur golfer but has suffered dreadfully with injury, including a back injury that claimed almost three years of his career.

“I definitely feel like I've had a lot of close calls since my last win. I'm a little surprised it's taken me this long to win again,” Cantlay said. “I really did (think the first win would open the floodgates). I've played a lot of really good golf, a lot of really solid golf. And so I think I was closer than it seems. So maybe this one will do it.”

Scott has now had five top-10s this season, and 17 top-10s since winning his 13th PGA Tour event back in March 2016. “It's tough on the PGA Tour. If you don’t get to 20 under, don't think about winning,” Scott said. "It's disappointing not to win, for sure. I really played good golf this week, and it just wasn't good enough. So I've just got to be a little bit better."

Kaymer tried to put a brave face on it after three bogeys in the final seven holes. “I played good golf all week. I just didn't make as many putts today,” Kaymer said. “To shoot level par today wasn’t my greatest round, but overall I'm very happy the way I play golf, and especially now for the next few weeks coming up.”

EUROPEAN TOUR

Guido Migliozzi claimed his second European Tour win of the season with a four shot victory over Darius van Driel in the final of the Belgian Knockout. The Italian only came through the Qualifying School in November and now has two victories in just 20 events after his triumph at thel Kenya Open in March. He laid down a marker on day four at Rinkven International Golf Club with a win over Bernd Wiesberger in his quarter-final and then defeated Scotsman Ewen Ferguson in the last four.

Van Driel beat Matthew Southgate and Grégory Havret en route to the final on Sunday - his 30th birthday - but could not match Migliozzi's three under par total.

Ferguson beat Havret by four shots in the play-off to claim third place ahead of the Frenchman.

In just the the second staging of this event with its innovative format, Migliozzi finished in a tie for fifth in Section A after 36 holes of strokeplay and then beat Pedro Oriol, defending champion Adrian Otaegui and David Law in his first three knockout matches over nine holes of medal match play.

The victory moves Migliozzi to 21st on the Race to Dubai, into the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and makes him the second 2018 Qualifying School graduate to win twice on the 2019 Race to Dubai after Kurt Kitayama.

"I'm feeling very good," he said. "I managed very well this afternoon, all the shots. "It's been great playing like this with such great players. I'm playing solid and I will try to continue this quality in the future."

Migliozzi drove the ball superbly in the final. He hit a huge drive at the opening hole and struck his approach to 10 feet to set up an opening birdie, which set the tone. He almost drove the green at the par four second but three putted from just off the front for par, and another three putt on the par three next meant he and Van Driel were level.

Another huge drive at the fifth allowed him to get up and down for another birdie and with Van Driel taking three putts, Migliozzi led by two. The advantage was three when Van Driel missed the green off the tee at the par three sixth and while both men hit stunning approaches into the seventh and took advantage of the par five eighth for back to back birdies, Van Driel bogeyed the last to finish at one over.

U.S. Women's Open (by Kieran Clark)

The oldest major in the women's game made history with a $1m first prize at the Country Club of Charleston, and it was Jeongeun Lee6 - named such as remarkably the sixth player on the LPGA Tour of Korea to share that name - who secured her maiden major championship following a final round of 70 in testing conditions in South Carolina. 

Finishing two shots ahead of compatriot So Yeon Ryu, and Americans Lexi Thompson and Angel Yin, the 23-year-old Lee was deeply emotional in the aftermath of her victory, coming six months after winning the LPGA Q-Series and making it onto the U.S. circuit full-time. Before, she had led the money list in her homeland in 2017 and 2018, in addition to securing top ten finishes in the ANA Inspiration, Evian Championship, and U.S. Women's Open two years ago. She hadn't finished worse than 26th in her rookie season on the LPGA.

Her round was comfortably the best among the last few pairings, who found the heavy conditions and fast turf of this Seth Raynor design - with holes modeled after many of the most iconic in the game - a significant challenge, befitting a U.S. Open.

Lee's journey through life and golf hasn't been a straightforward one. Nearly 20 years ago, her father, a truck driver, was paralaysed following an accident, and what this triumph means to her family was evident as Lee spoke through tears, which also flooded down the face of her manager and translator during the prize giving ceremony.

“Looking at my family situation back then, I thought about wanting to play golf because I wanted to support my family no matter what. And after I became like successful in KLPGA for three years, thinking about that, this makes me want to play more and kind of wanted to play in the tournament enjoyable.

“As a rookie player, I thought—I mean, I just wanted—I didn't even expect to win the tournament this fast. I think this is very lucky that I won this major championship.”


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