DUBLIN, Ohio – David Lingmerth had lost his previous two playoffs and was hoping that trend would end at the Memorial Tournament. It did, but only after Justin Rose’s scrambling ways came to an end.
Lingmerth earned his first PGA Tour title at the tournament hosted by the greatest player in the game’s history, Jack Nicklaus. Lingmerth lifted the trophy after a three-hole, sudden-death playoff defined by improbable par saves.
“I’ve been in a few playoffs. You win some, you lose some,” Lingmerth said. “But I didn’t feel that it was my turn to lose this time.”
The three-hole playoff was the longest in Memorial history. Lingmerth, 27, started the week at No. 212 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 100 in the FedExCup. He’s now 28th in the FedExCup.
Lingmerth was born in Sweden before coming to the United States to play college golf. He played for West Florida before transferring to Arkansas, where he helped the Razorbacks to a runner-up finish in the 2009 NCAA Championship. Jack Nicklaus video-chatted with Lingmerth’s parents in Sweden after their son’s victory.
“It’s an honor being here, and winning is surreal,” Lingmerth said.
He has a slight tie to the state where he won his first TOUR title. Lingmerth’s uncle, Goran, appeared in one game for the Cleveland Browns in 1987. Goran Lingmerth, a placekicker, set the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record with eight field goals in a single game while at Northern Arizona University. Goran is now a PING rep and gave David his first set of clubs when David was 12.
“If I didn’t have him, I might not even have played golf,” David said. “He’s pushed me and tried to get me to the mindset that I can do whatever I set my mind to.”
David had to overcome a three-shot deficit at the start of the day.
Rose led the field by three at the start of the day, but shot 72 in the final round. Rose was seeking his second Memorial win – he also won in 2010 – and second victory in his past five TOUR starts. His next start will be the U.S. Open, a tournament he won in 2013.
Lingmerth is scheduled to play a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Monday.
This was Lingmerth’s 68th PGA TOUR start. He lost a playoff at the 2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, the same season he was runner-up to Tiger Woods in THE PLAYERS Championship. Lingmerth also lost a playoff on the Web.com Tour in 2012.
Lingmerth missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation, but it still looked like he’d win the title outright when Justin Rose shanked his approach shot from a fairway bunker. He hit his 56-yard pitch shot to 3 feet, though, to force a playoff. Rose had made a 12-foot birdie putt on the previous hole.
The drama continued in the playoff. Rose holed a 20-foot par putt, but Lingmerth matched him with a 10-footer.
“When I made that putt on the first extra hole, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to steal this one.’ But it wasn’t to be,” Rose said. “I think I made too many mistakes out there.”
Lingmerth got up-and-down from a bunker on the second extra hole. He won with par on the next hole, the par-4 10th, after Rose’s tee shot came to rest behind trees.
“Playoffs are exciting and my heart was beating, but I think I handled it pretty well,” Lingmerth said.
Jordan Spieth teed off 2 1/2 hours before Sunday’s final group, but he played well enough that he stayed after his round for a possible playoff. His final-round 65 left him in a tie for third, two shots out of the playoff. He shot 13-under 275 (68-70-72-65).
Spieth holed a curling chip at the par-5 16th for eagle, then made a downhill, 7-foot birdie putt at No. 18.
“This is one of the best rounds I’ve played in a long time,” said Spieth, who extended his FedExCup lead to 624 points. “I thought that if I played great golf I’d shoot 5 under today and that was my goal.”
This was Spieth’s third consecutive start, a stretch that began with the two Dallas-area events. He finished runner-up at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, T30 at the AT&T Byron Nelson and T3 this week.
“I’m hitting the ball better and better each week,” Spieth said. “Everything is kind of coming in place for the U.S. Open.”
Francesco Molinari was tied for the lead until hitting his tee shot into the water at the par-3 16th.
“I think the shot at 16 will stay in my mind for a while,” said Molinari, who represented Europe in the 2010 and 2012 Ryder Cups. “But it was just two or three (feet) short of being good.”
He made par on the final two holes, but his back-nine 38 left him two shots out of the playoff. He shot 71 on Sunday and finished at 13-under 275 (68-67-69-71). Molinari sprinted into the lead with birdies at Nos. 3-5, but made just one birdie the rest of the round.
Molinari has finished in the top five in three of his past four worldwide starts. He was also second at the Spanish Open and fifth at the BMW Championship. This is Molinari’s first season as a PGA TOUR member. He moved to No. 93 in the FedExCup.
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama finished fifth after shooting a final-round 70. He didn’t break 70 in any of the final three rounds after opening with an 8-under 64. He made five birdies on the back nine, but also made double-bogey at 16 after hitting his tee shot into the water. Marc Leishman and Jim Furyk, the 2002 Memorial champ, also finished fifth. …
PGA TOUR rookie Tony Finau finished T8; it was his fourth consecutive top-20. He made eight birdies during Sunday’s 67. …
Patrick Rodgers made birdie on his final two holes Sunday to finish T40. It was enough for the former Stanford star to earn special temporary membership on the PGA TOUR. Rodgers was at last year’s Memorial to accept the Jack Nicklaus Award as college golf’s top player. Now he’s a PGA TOUR member. Rodgers also won earlier this year on the Web.com Tour and started this week at No. 6 on that tour’s money list.