DUBLIN, Ohio – Kyle Stanley’s late bid to snatch a victory at the Memorial Tournament didn’t survive an ill-fated collision with a tree lining the 18th fairway.
Although Stanley started the final round one shot off the lead, he made a costly double bogey on No. 12 and was five behind Bryson DeChambeau standing on the 14th tee. But after reeling off four straight birdies on Nos. 14-17, he headed to the final tee box in a tie for the lead at 16 under.
Stanley’s drive drifted down the right hand side, but it caromed off a tree and kicked all the way across the fairway into thick rough down the left. With the pin tucked far on the left side, he had no choice but to pitch out into the fairway en route to a closing bogey.
“For whatever reason, every time I’m in the rough this week, we were pitching out, so it was a little frustrating,” Stanley said. “The drive really wasn’t that bad of a shot, so a bad break for it to end up where it did.”
Stanley earned a reprieve when DeChambeau also bogeyed the final hole, creating a three-way playoff at 15 under that also included Byeong-Hun An. But Stanley’s fortunes didn’t improve in overtime, as another errant tee shot found more thick rough near the face of a bunker and he advanced his second shot only a few yards.
While his par pitch from the rough short of the green rattled the flagstick, it didn’t drop. Stanley was eliminated with a bogey, and DeChambeau went on to win on the second extra hole.
“In the playoff, if that ball ends up – poor tee shot - but if it ends up a couple of feet right of where it did, there’s not much rough over there and I would have had a decent angle,” Stanley said. “So a bit of a bad break there. But that’s golf. It happens, and you just move on.”