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Cantlay wins a playoff at Memorial on Sunday without Rahm

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — The emotion and depth felt the identical to Patrick Cantlay, whether or not it was his clutch 25-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead or his 12-foot par putt in a playoff that made him a winner once more Sunday within the Memorial.

The handshake with Jack Nicklaus? As particular because it was two years in the past.

That was so far as normalcy was allowed to go at a match that was as a lot in regards to the man who received because the man who did not play.

Plenty of drama. Just a little rain. No signal of Jon Rahm.

Some 24 hours earlier, as Rahm pulled away with a 64 to construct a six-shot lead, Cantlay already was attempting to determine how low he would want to attain to have a likelihood. And then Rahm was instructed off the 18th inexperienced Saturday night that his COVID-19 take a look at got here again optimistic, knocking him out of the match.

“I would much rather have faced him down today and shot an extremely low round and beat him that way,” Cantlay stated after closing with a 1-under 71 and beating Collin Morikawa (71) with a par on the primary playoff gap.

“But unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do,” he stated. “I did everything I could with the cards I was dealt, and I really did a good job of focusing today on the task at hand and staying present. And that’s all you can do in this game.”

He did it one putt higher than Morikawa, who missed a 6-foot par putt to increase the playoff.

The tour stated Rahm had been involved with a COVID-19 optimistic and was in its contact tracing program, subjected to checks each day since Monday. Every take a look at was adverse till Saturday, after his rain-delayed second spherical.

He was knowledgeable after tying the 54-hole file at 18-under 198. His six-shot lead tied the Memorial file set by Tiger Woods. And then he was out of the match.

“We’re all devastated,” Nicklaus stated earlier Sunday. “I wish we could figure out how to give Jon three-fourths of the trophy.”

Nicklaus additionally figured it will add one other ingredient for Cantlay and Morikawa to confront, having gone from a six-shot deficit to a share of the lead.

They each dealt with it high quality, and the lead was exchanged amongst Cantlay, Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler, who bogeyed the ultimate gap for a 70 to complete two pictures out of the playoff.

“All I had to do was focus on my game and go out and play golf. There’s nothing else I could really change,” Morikawa stated. “I can’t dictate anyone else’s future or how they play or what’s going on. So waking up this morning I felt great. I was ready to go play golf and see if I could win the tournament.”

Morikawa surged forward with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fifteenth, whereas Cantlay missed birdie putts from 8 ft to tie him on the fifteenth, after which on the par-3 sixteenth.

The spherical was halted for about 5 minutes due to a pop-up downpour whereas they have been on the seventeenth inexperienced. When it resumed, Cantlay holed a 25-foot birdie putt to tie, and Morikawa stayed within the sport with a 12-foot par.

Cantlay had a 25-foot birdie putt for the win on the 18th in regulation that grazed the correct facet of the cup, leaving them at 13-under 275.

Rahm reached 13 underneath on the eleventh gap Saturday and stored going. How would he have fared Sunday is unknown. No one has ever misplaced a lead that enormous within the remaining spherical at Muirfield Village, although it has occurred seven occasions on the PGA Tour, most lately by Dustin Johnson in Shanghai in 2017.

“It was such a weird situation, so unfortunate,” Cantlay stated. “Everyone, me included, knows it would be totally different today if that hadn’t happened. But there’s nothing I could do about it. I tried as hard as I could to reset and refocus.”

It led to the fourth victory of his PGA Tour profession, and second this season. Cantlay additionally received the ZoZo Championship in California final October, rallying from a three-shot deficit to beat Rahm and Justin Thomas.

He turns into the seventh participant to win a number of occasions at the Memorial, a listing that begins with Tiger Woods profitable 5 occasions and Nicklaus, the match founder, profitable twice.

Morikawa received at Muirfield Village final 12 months, simply not the Memorial. He received in a playoff towards Thomas at the Workday Charity Open, a one-time even when the pandemic compelled the John Deere Classic to be canceled.

In that match, Morikawa twice needed to watch as Thomas had a putt on the 18th inexperienced to win, and he survived to win on the third further gap.

This time, he escaped one birdie likelihood by Cantlay in regulation. On the 18th within the playoff, Morikawa had a sliver of mud on his ball and got here up effectively brief from the golf green into deep tough. He chipped out to six ft.

Cantlay was effectively proper and hacked it out into a bunker, however his shot from the moist sand rolled out 12 ft. It was on the identical line as his 25-foot birdie try in regulation, and this time he poured it in for par. Moments later, Morikawa missed his 6-footer and Cantlay let loose a huge exhale earlier than going over to shake palms with Nicklaus.

“There’s a little something that I can’t quite put my finger on that make it’s feel a little different,” Cantlay stated. “But I actually hit a lot of clutch, stable pictures in the present day. And so I feel I’ll keep in mind that principally.”

(This model corrects that six-shot leads have been misplaced seven occasions on the PGA Tour)

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