Spectators were treated to an exciting weekend of golf at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where David Lingmerth secured his first win on the PGA TOUR, defeating Justin Rose in a three-hole sudden-death playoff at the 40th Memorial Tournament.
Lingmerth finished fifth or better two of the first three days of the tournament and entered Sunday’s action 12-under par. The win was his 68th tour event. He was visibly excited.
“I can’t believe it right now. I’m so happy. I don’t know where to go,” Lingmerth said.
Rose entered the final day three shots back of the leader, Keegan Bradley, and held a three-stroke lead before bogeying the 14th and 16th holes, finishing the regulation portion of the round at par.
“I pulled off shots when I really had too, coming down the stretch. I would have liked to put myself in a position where I could have sailed coming down the stretch, but I really had to dig for it,” Rose said.
A win for Rose would have been his eighth on tour and his second at Muirfield Village, where he won the Memorial Tournament in 2010, his first victory on the American tour.
“It would have been lovely to win in the playoff, but there is a lot I could look back and think I could have done better,” Rose said.
The Memorial, the annual invitation-only tournament founded by Upper Arlington native and Ohio State alumnus Jack Nicklaus, has featured some dramatics lately, as two of the last three finishes have been decided by a playoff, and four of the last five by two strokes or fewer.
Originally from Sweden, Lingmerth has had success on the European Tour, but he is still cutting his teeth on the American circuit, and he was eager to play at Muirfield Village.
“I had never played here, I wanted to come experience it,” Lingmerth said.
Lingmerth, who had been heavily recruited to return to Europe for part of the summer, expressed his desire to stay in the United States to seek his first victory, honeyed by the fact that it came at the Memorial.
“This tournament, hosted by Mr. Nicklaus, I can’t think of many things that compare to it,” Lingmerth said.
In choosing to play the Memorial, Lingmerth skipped the Nordea Masters in his native Sweden.
Tiger Woods, a five-time winner at Muirfield, finished two-over, good for 71st on the leaderboard. He rebounded somewhat on Sunday, carding a two-over after an abhorrent Saturday, when he had a career worst single-day score of 85.
Woods had previously announced he will not play again until the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on June 18. He attended the Memorial out of respect for his friendship with Nicklaus, whom he is still seeking to dethrone as the all-time major tournament wins leader.
The Memorial, Nicklaus’ pride and joy, samples elements of some of golf’s great tournaments. The invitation process is similar to that of the Masters at Augusta National, and Muirfield Village is named after a course in Scotland where Nicklaus won his first Open Championship in 1966.