Lingmerth refuses to lose, outlasts Rose at Memorial

By Doug FergusonJune 8, 2015, 1:34 am

DUBLIN, Ohio – David Lingmerth kept telling himself it was his turn to win Sunday in the Memorial, even amid so many signs that suggested otherwise.

He thought his 3-under 69 would be enough when Justin Rose shanked a shot from a fairway bunker, plunked a spectator in the head and had to get up-and-down from 55 yards on the final hole to force a playoff. And he did.

Lingmerth was looking at a 10-foot par putt for the win on the first extra hole until Rose made a 20-footer for par that fell in from the right side of the cup, and suddenly the Swede's putt was simply to stay in the game.

Lingmerth made them all until he was shaking hands with tournament host Jack Nicklaus to celebrate a victory he won't soon forget. He ended the three-hole playoff – the longest in 40 years at Muirfield Village – with a par putt from just inside 5 feet.

But it was that first extra hole and his 10-foot putt to match Rose's par that showed his resolve.

''I was thinking to myself that I'd probably have a putt to win the tournament right there,'' he said. ''And then he drops it in ... and this big, huge roar. Crazy feeling. So I took a few moments just to let the crowd and myself calm down because I knew how big that next putt was going to be. I've been in a few playoffs. You win some, you lose some. But I didn't feel that it was my turn to lose this time. I was telling myself that I was going to make that putt.''


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Stoic through all the pressure, the most emotion he showed was after it was all over.

His first PGA Tour victory came on the birthday of his father, Thomas, and his parents' anniversary. Lingmerth's wife used FaceTime for the father to watch the press conference, and when it ended, Nicklaus spoke to him as Lingmerth smiled wider that he did all day.

There were a few other gifts.

Lingmerth is headed to the Masters for the first time, but not the U.S. Open. He has a qualifier on Monday, as if 21 holes on Sunday wasn't enough. The victory also gets him into the PGA Championship, two World Golf Championships and gives him a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

Rose, who closed with a 72 with that superb par save on No. 18 in regulation, looked like a winner when he made the bending 20-foot par putt in the playoff. Nicklaus threw his hands up. Rose's son, 5-year-old Leo, shrieked with delight.

''When I made that putt on the first extra hole, I thought, 'Wow, I'm going to steal this one.' But it wasn't to be,'' Rose said.

He lost a three-shot lead at the start of the final round and closed with a 72. And on the third extra hole, he went from right rough to left gallery, chipped 18 feet by the hole and still had more than 4 feet for bogey when Lingmerth ended it.

''He needs to look back at that putt that kept it going on the first extra hole,'' Rose said. ''He did everything he needed to.''

Masters champion Jordan Spieth closed with a 65 and wound up two shots behind in a tie for third with Francesco Molinari of Italy, who was tied for the lead until hitting into the water on the 16th for a double bogey. He shot 71.

Tiger Woods showed improvement – it was hard not to after a career-worst 85 on Saturday. He shot 74 and finished last, 29 shots behind, with his worst 72-hole score (302) in his PGA Tour career.

''I did not win, and I wasn't even close,'' Woods said. ''So hopefully in two weeks' time, things will be a lot better and I'll be ready to try to win a U.S. Open.''

Spieth was nine shots behind going into the final day and could not have imagined having to spend an extra three hours in Ohio. He chipped in twice – for birdie on the par-5 seventh and for eagle on the par-5 15th – and closed with a birdie. He posted at 13-under 275 and stuck around all afternoon to see if it would be enough.

Lingmerth made sure it wasn't with a solid finish – a short birdie on the 15th to reach 15 under, and pars the rest of the way to reach 15-under 273. He did not make a bogey over the last 11 holes he played.

Rose had the wild finish.

A fan yelled in his swing from a tough bunker shot on the 14th, where he made bogey. He made birdie on the par-5 15th. He three-putted the 16th, only to make a 12-foot bending birdie putt on the 17th. And right when it looked like he was in trouble after the shank, he saved par with a pitch out of deep rough to 3 feet.

DIVOTS: Patrick Rodgers earned special temporary membership with a tie for 40th, meaning he gets unlimited exemptions the rest of the way. But it wasn't easy. He made bogey on the 15th and triple bogey on the 16th, only to finish birdie-birdie to lock it up. ... Kevin Kisner withdrew from the U.S. Open qualifier on Monday because he tweaked his back on the range Thursday. He felt better Sunday, closed with a 70 and tied for eighth. That moved him to No. 57 in the world, and if he can stay in the top 60 after next week, he'll be in the U.S. Open. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.