Hovland wins Memorial Tournament in playoff


DUBLIN — Viktor Hovland beat Denny McCarthy on the first hole of the sudden death playoff to win the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club for his fourth PGA Tour win on Sunday.

Hovland fired a 70 on the final round to post seven-under in the clubhouse, one shot better than Scottie Scheffler, who stormed the leaderboard with a 67 after making the cut at plus-three on Friday.

“I’ve been playing well, but I’ve just been trying to stay within myself and play my own game,” Hovland said. “Maybe before I would have fired at some pins that I shouldn’t have fired at. I just played smart, played my game and came up clutch this time. It feels even better after some close calls the last few months.”

McCarthy’s poor drive on the first playoff hole on 18 led to a bogey, while Hovland sank a seven-foot par putt to seal the win.

“I didn’t feel I hit it my best this week, but I just played smart and really relied on my short game. I putted great. It’s a little bit surreal but obviously playing Jack’s (Nicklaus) course and winning it, and for him to be able to see it, he shook my hand and gave me a few words of encouragement, which was pretty awesome,” Hovland added.

Sunday was full of ups and downs. and started with No. 1 ranked Scheffler slicing through the field to put himself in contention.

He birdied 11, 15 and 16 to put himself at six-under-par in the clubhouse.

He bogeyed 17 and needed to sink a 10-foot putt at 18 to put him in a possible playoff but missed.

Three players had the lead heading into the final round, including Rory McIlroy, but none of them posted a significant run at the leaderboard.

McIlroy, a former No. 1, was inconsistent with his wedge and bogeyed both par-5s on the front nine.

He finished with a three-over-par 75 on Sunday.

For much of the day, Hovland hung around and stayed in the hunt.

He would not go away, and clutch par saves along with a timely birdie early in the round kept him in that hunt.

However, two bogeys on the front briefly dropped him off the leaderboard.

But Hovland rebounded and showed the resolve of a champion.

Four back-nine birdies propelled the 25-year-old Norwegian back into contention including one on the difficult 17th — the lone birdie on the hole in Round 4.

A par on the 18th followed by another one on the first playoff hole secured a victory for Hovland — and the $3.6 million first prize.

The loss devastated McCarthy, who is considered one of the purest putters on the PGA Tour.

He saved crucial pars and played bogey-free on a day when the average score was 75.

His only bogey came on the 18th hole — once in regulation on Sunday and one in the playoff.

McCarthy had a one-shot lead when he missed the 18th fairway to the left, pitched out to the fairway, and missed a 25-foot par putt for the win.

In the playoff, his shot from the right rough rolled back off the green about 50 yards away.

He pitched to 12 feet and his par putt lipped out.

“I’m heartbroken right now,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know what else to say. I’m just heartbroken. “

McCarthy still takes home $2.18 million for second place.

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