Golfweek PostGame: David Lingmerth keeps his cool to win Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio — As if going 21 holes Sunday to earn his first PGA Tour win weren’t enough, David Lingmerth can now put his arms around another 36 to get his second shot at a U.S. Open.

Such a thought made the 27-year-old Swede smile.

“We kind of joked about it a little bit, me and my caddie,” Lingmerth said. “We’ll see how tomorrow goes. As of now, I guess I’m still going to try to qualify.”

If it sounded as if there was hesitation regarding Monday’s U.S. Open qualifier in nearby Columbus, Lingmerth can be excused. He had just come off of an exhilarating performance at the Memorial Tournament, playing his last eight holes in 3 under to chase down a share of the lead, then withstanding some Justin Rose magic to win on the third playoff hole.

So overwhelmed was the unheralded third-year PGA Tour member — a player so new he was competing in just his 68th tournament — that he didn’t realize the biggest caveat of his triumph. No, not the $1.116 million. Nor the chance to claim ownership of a tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus, though “I can’t think of many tournaments that would be put above this one,” he said.

Instead, Lingmerth talked of the PGA Tour exemption for two years . . .

“Three,” someone told him in the post-tournament interview. “It’s three for the Memorial.”

His eyes bright and his smile wide, they got brighter and wider. “I like that. Definitely nice,” Lingmerth said.

Truth is, he deserves the added year, given the way he outplayed a solid veteran like Francesco Molinari down the stretch, got even with world No. 6 Rose, and prevailed in three extra holes.

“Seems cool, calm and collected,” Rose said. “He did a good job.”

Having started the day three behind Rose, Lingmerth was still 12 under and in the shadows before he played his best golf of the week. Birdies at 11, 12, and 15 got him to 15 under and he was co-leader with Rose and Molinari, then he was the sole leader because Rose three-putted 16 for bogey and Molinari (71 – 275, T-3) dunked his tee shot in the water and made double.

When Rose birdied from 12 feet at 17, there was again a tie, and that set in motion a series of par saves that kept the crowd cheering.

At 18, Rose hit a spectator on the head with a wide right approach, but got it up-and-down from 55 yards to set up the playoff between those at 15-under 273, Rose having shot 72, Lingmerth 69.

Playing 18 as their 19th hole, Rose made a 20-footer to save par and seemingly win, only Lingmerth curled in his 10-footer. Next time around on 18, Lingmerth got it up-and-down from a greenside bunker while Rose navigated a deft two-putt from 35 feet.

When the 21st hole brought Rose and Lingmerth to the par-4, dogleg-left 10th, the Englishman’s magic went dry. Wide right with his tee shot, he was long and left with an attempted knockdown utility club from just 147 yards. He continued to make a mess of the hole, but it didn’t matter, because Lingmerth got his revenge on this playoff business.

He had lost one on the Tour and as a rookie at the Humana. “I didn’t feel like it was my turn to lose (this one),” he said.

Turns out, it wasn’t.

• • •

QUICK WIT: Quietly, Jim Furyk played superbly, shooting under par all four days. But after shooting 69-66-70-71 to finish at 12 under and with a share of fifth — his seventh top 10 at this tournament — the 45-year-old veteran revealed that he has yet to see Chambers Bay. What’s more, he likely won’t see it until he travels out for the U.S. Open next week.

“I think I’m one of those folks who doesn’t have a chance,” Furyk said.

Pretty funny, and clearly he has been reading stories in advance of the U.S. Open because Mike Davis, the executive director of the USGA, drew criticism for suggesting players who didn’t play plenty of practice rounds wouldn’t have much of a chance at Chambers Bay.

• • •

FORECADDIE: And the winner for best supporting role in a comedy golf commercial is . . . Steve Stricker.

Please note, this was not an official competition, it is in the humble estimation of The Man Out Front who is a huge fan of the Avis commercials promoting fantasy golf.

Stricker laughed when told of this unofficial honor given him by The Forecaddie, but he didn’t deny that he had a blast filming them. Of course, it took a while “because I couldn’t stop laughing,” he said.

Stricker said they were filmed at a course near his home in Madison, Wis., and that he was impressed at how the actors who shared the stage with him “basically ad-libbed as they went on.”

OK, Bill Murray he isn’t, but Stricker holds his own. At least that’s what TMOF told him – and that got him laughing, too.

“I didn’t even say anything,” he laughed.

Sure, Stricks, but it was all in the delivery. Take a bow.

• • •

TRIVIA: Four players can lay claim to having won tournaments dedicated to the legacies of three giants – Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Yes, Tiger Woods (one win at “the Nelson,” eight at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, five at the Memorial) is one of them, but who are the other three?

• • •

NUMBERS: In 30 appearances at the Memorial Tournament (two wins, four top 10s), Jack Nicklaus piled up just $326,592 in prize money.

In his first visit to the Memorial, Francesco Molinari earned $359,600 with his share of third.

• • •

SO LONG: It was difficult to get too emotionally charged by Kenny Perry’s announcement that these two rounds at the Memorial (he missed the cut) were his farewell to the PGA Tour. Understandable. At 54 he said he is strictly a Champions Tour player.

Let’s not forget, there were big periods of Perry’s prime playing days when he seemed to treat the PGA Tour like a part-time job. It’s part of his legacy that he had disdain for the Opens on each side of the pond (just 13 U.S. Opens and seven Open Championships) and famously, after winning the Memorial in 2008, Perry was ranked 27th in the world – but not about to try and qualify for the U.S. Open.

“I don’t do 36 holes ever,” Perry told reporters at the Memorial. “It just wears me out. It takes too much out of me.”

• • •

THE LIST: Of the previous 10 winners of the Memorial (2005-2014), Kenny Perry is one of two who didn’t play a few weeks later in the U.S. Open. The other, Justin Rose, did try and qualify, but he fell short the day after winning the 2010 Memorial.

How the last 10 winners of the Memorial have fared in the U.S. Open two weeks later:

• • •

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: A glance at the leaderboard late in Round 3 showed that global golf is alive and well here at Muirfield Village. The leader, Justin Rose, was from England, and close on his tail at that moment were Andy Sullivan (England), David Lingmerth (Sweden), Francesco Molinari (Italy), and Hideki Matsuyama (Japan).

A veritable United Nations, hey, Mr. Nicklaus?

It’s in keeping with the structure of world golf these days, because it was no surprise that of the 71 players who made the cut at the Memorial, 20 were born outside the U.S.

And just like most PGA Tour tournaments, that’s a different look than what we had decades ago. Consider the first Memorial, for instance, in 1976. Of those who made the cut, only two were born outside the U.S. – Victor Regalado of Mexico and Takashi Murakami of Japan.

• • •

TRIVIA ANSWER: Fred Couples (one win in each), Vijay Singh (one win in each), and Ernie Els (two at the API, one each at the other two).

• • •

OUCH CORNER: You’ve heard of the legendary double-double at In-N-Out Burger? Well, Brooks Koepka and Pat Perez offered up the double-double-double menu items. Koepka doubled the par-4 10th, the par-5 11th, and the par-3 12th, while Perez came home with doubles at the par-3 16th, par-4 17th, and par-4 18th.

Troy Merritt also required 18 strokes to play the 10th, 11th and 12th holes, though he went triple-bogey, bogey, double-bogey, and Steven Bowditch’s triple-triple at the par-4 14th and par-5 15th hardly left an indelible memory.

Andrew Putnam’s day featured a few bumps, but none worse than the 9 he took at the par-5 seventh. He started the hole by driving OB right and ended it by taking four strokes to get down from 55 feet left of the green.

• • •

ON THE TEE: It’s the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, the last warm-up before the 115th U.S. Open. Ben Crane will be attempting to defend his title at TPC Southwind, while marquee names such as Phil Mickelson will use it to get into a competitive mode. For European-based players such as Matteo Manassero, the Lyoness Open in Austria offers a playing opportunity this week.

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