Viktor Hovland edges out Denny McCarthy in play-off to win Memorial Tournament
By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
Viktor Hovland defeated Denny McCarthy in a play-off to win the Memorial Tournament as Rory McIlroy suffered a disappointing final round in Ohio.
Hovland parred the first extra hole at Muirfield Village to win his fourth PGA Tour title after he and McCarthy had finished tied on seven under par.
The 25-year-old Norwegian had birdied the 15th and 17th to set the clubhouse target following a closing 70 and then saw McCarthy drop his first shot of the day on the 18th.
McCarthy then bogeyed the same hole in the play-off to miss out on a maiden PGA Tour win.
Hovland, who finished runner-up to Brooks Koepka in the US PGA Championship after a costly double bogey on the 16th hole of the final round, told CBS: “It feels even better after a few close calls the last few months.
“I didn’t really feel like I hit it my best the whole week, I just played really smart, played conservatively, really relied on my short game and I putted awesome this week.
“It’s fun to win one of these things without just ball-striking it to death. Now I can kind of rely on some other strengths as well.”
Hovland and McCarthy finished a shot ahead of world number one Scottie Scheffler, who surged through the field with a closing 67, despite ranking dead last in putting of those players who made the cut.
McIlroy began the day in a tie for the lead and was out in front when he chipped in for birdie on the fourth, but bogeyed three of the next four holes on his way to a 75 and a tie for seventh on three under par.
“I did what I wanted to do,” McIlroy said. “I thought if I could stay patient and put my ball in play off the tee, which I did pretty much all day, I only hit it in the long rough once…
“I was in the first cut three times and then the rest of the time I was in the fairway. So I did what I wanted to do, I just missed a few shots and those two bogeys on the par fives on the front nine were unforced errors.
“Once I was one over through nine holes and Denny was at eight under for the tournament, it’s hard to chase on that golf course the way it’s playing.
“I hit a couple of loose shots on the back nine that at least I know where they’re coming from, which is good, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“I feel a little better about everything compared to where I was a couple weeks ago at Oak Hill. So it’s obviously not the result that I wanted today, but I feel like there was a few more positives than there was a couple weeks ago.”
Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, who was two off the lead heading into the final round, withdrew shortly before his tee time after suffering back spasms.
“We were doing some reflex stuff, trying to reach down and try to pick something up like quick and low,” Morikawa explained.
“I’ve hurt may back briefly before, but nothing has been this bad. I think it’s the first tournament I’ve ever withdrawn from in my entire life. It sucks because this is a tournament that I love.
“I’ve played well and put myself in contention. But I have to look out for myself and got to be smart.”