By Ron Patey
David Lingmerth of Sweden kept his cool until the very end to knock off England’s Justin Rose at the Memorial Tournament. The playoff lasted three holes and turned out to be the event’s longest playoff in history. Lingmerth, who began the final day three shots behind third-round leader Rose, received the champion’s trophy from tournament host Jack Nicklaus after putting together a steady performance. The Swede posted a solid 3-under 69 to catch Rose who carded an even-par 72.
Rose, meanwhile, had a couple of adventures down the stretch that saw him first bounce a shanked fairway bunker shot off the forehead of a spectator on No. 18 during regulation play. He also flew another approach from behind a tree line into the gallery on No. 10, the final playoff hole. The Englishman was able to shake off the wayward effort on 18 when he pitched to tap-in range from a chewy lie, but Rose couldn’t repeat the same magic at 10 to prolong the already lengthy playoff.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth looked sharp as he tuned up for the U.S. Open next week at Chambers Bay, where he will attempt to win back-to-back majors. The Texan drained a curvy chip shot on 16 for a miraculous eagle and slid in a knee-knocking short-range downhill birdie putt on the final hole en route to a superb final-round total of 7-under 65 and a T3 finish.
Next On The Tee: FedEx St. Jude Classic
It’s last call for players on the outside looking in to earn a place in the U.S. Open field. After the last putt drops on Sunday at TPC Southwind, the top-60 players in the world rankings will book flights to Chambers Bay in Washington State. Notable players on the bubble include Steven Bowditch, who won last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, 2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic champion Harris English, Luke Donald and Cameron Tringale.
Phil Mickelson and 2011 winner Dustin Johnson bring the star power to the tournament, and fresh-faced Bryson DeChambeau of SMU, who is the 2015 NCAA individual champion, debuts in his first hands-on experience against PGA Tour professionals. Mickelson has decided to play through to the U.S. Open. He’ll be hunting for answers in Tennessee about his wildly inconsistent play. Mickelson’s last four yo-yo starts include a T2 at The Masters, a missed cut at The Players, a T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship and a T65 at the Memorial Tournament. This track record trends toward him contending this week.
Johnson would love to pair a win this week with his WGC-Cadillac Championship win in March. He’s had a half-dozen top 10s this campaign and despite a couple of chunky efforts (T43 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and T69 at The Players), he’s on course to have his best season ever.
Last year’s titleholder, Ben Crane, comes into the event looking kickstart his brutal season. Crane’s best finish has been a T29 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January, and his next best were a couple of T37 finishes in the Shell Houston Open and RBC Heritage.
TPC Southwind plays 7,239 yards long and is a par 70.
Favorites: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Steven Bowditch, Billy Horschel, Webb Simpson
Players To Watch: Harris English, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, George McNeill, Ryan Palmer
Ron Patey covered the golf industry for 21 years as a special sections editor with Sun Media. During the past five years, Patey has been a golf writer for Examiner.com.