Patrick Cantlay defeated fellow countryman Collin Morikawa at the first playoff hole to claim his fourth PGA Tour title and second Memorial Tournament.
Patrick Cantlay Claims Second Memorial Victory
After the drama of Jon Rahm’s withdrawal due to a positive Covid test on Saturday afternoon, both Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay found themselves tied for the lead going into the final round.
Moving from a six-shot deficit to a three-shot advantage, the duo would struggle though, with several mistakes leading to Scottie Scheffler joining a three-way battle at Jack’s Place.
But it would be Cantlay who would rise above his fellow countrymen, producing a par at the first playoff hole to secure his second Memorial title.
“I thought I did a good job of staying focused and it really felt like a battle between Collin and I all day and that’s just kind of how it played out.
“I know Scottie made a few birdies early and he was up there, but with Collin right there in the same group it just felt like it was me and him trading blows all day.”
Coming into the event, Muirfield Village had undergone a bit of a facelift, with changes being made to 16 of the 18 holes.
One of the most noticeable changes that Jack Nicklaus has made was at the very first hole, seeing the green being pushed back by 30 yards.
Starting the final round, both Morikawa and Cantlay would bogey the par-4 opener, with their lead being cut down to just two shots.
“That first hole is now a pretty big kick in the teeth just to start the day. 490 and you can’t really hit driver off the tee. But it was in as good a shape as ever and a lot of the golf course is still the same old golf course so it’s still a place I feel very comfortable.” Cantlay said.
As the front nine progressed, the pair would trade blows of questionable consistency, with Morikawa at one point whiffing a chip shot at the par-4 6th.
With the pair still not separated through 14 holes, Morikawa delivered an eight-foot blow at the par-5 15th, moving into a one-shot lead as he looked to secure a second victory at Muirfield Village.
But Cantlay is one of the sport’s most resilient characters, and a 30-foot birdie putt at the 17th soon heaved all the pressure back onto Morikawa. Once again, he would respond, holing a classy par putt to keep the scores level.
As the round concluded with closing pars, Morikawa would take the advantage in the playoff, finding the centre of the fairway, with Cantlay blocking his drive right.
With both approaches coming up short, the former Memorial champion would get up-and-down to from the sand to once again apply the pressure.
Needing to hole a mid-range par putt to force a second playoff hole, Morikawa would pull his putt left, handing the title to Cantlay.
“It’s always special coming off the 18th green and shaking his hand (Jack Nicklaus). We have a great connection and we are, I would say, good friends at this point, and so that makes it just a little more special.
“He’s taken me under his wing and to do it at his place with the advice and encouragement that he’s given me over the years is very special for me.
The victory now moves the American to the top of the FedEx Cup standings and almost a certainty for the Steve Stricker’s Ryder Cup side in September.