The PGA Tour event at Muirfield this morning closed with a duel playoff in which the victory with the championship and $ 1,674 million belonged to Patrick Cantlay.

Cantlay lifted the trophy for the second time at Memorial, after the first time in 2019 also at Muirfield.  Photo: AP

Cantlay lifted the trophy for the second time at Memorial, after the first time in 2019 also at Muirfield. Image: AP

After 54 holes, Jon Rahm kept the top of the table at -18, leading Cantlay and Collin Morikawa to six strokes. But just after the penultimate match, he received a positive result, so he had to go to isolation. Competitors “in close contact” with Rahm include Cantlay, Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler. Cantlay and Scheffler played in the penultimate lap with Rahm, while Morikawa shared the first two stages.

Without the world’s third golfer, Cantlay and Morikawa automatically went to the top of the table and took turns leading the final round.

This leg, only Scheffler and Branden Grace are really a threat. But Grace, one club behind the top of the table after half a round, was out of the door because of three bogeys on the 10-13 hole. Scheffler was in the same position as Grace after birdie on hole 15, only to become an “outsider” on the last hole because of the bogey. Scheffler finished third with -11, one place above Grace and one stroke away.

Jimmy Walker was in top form in the final round – 65 strokes with seven birdies and no bogey on par72. But he also did not catch up with Cantlay and Morikawa, but only finished T6 (point -6).

Along with the last group, Morikawa overcame Cantlay with a birdie 2.4 meters away on the 15th hole. At the 17th hole, they had to stop because of the sudden rain for five minutes. When he returned to play, Cantlay equalized with a birdie 7.6 meters away, while Morikawa kept par 3.6 meters from the hole.

Hole 18, Morikawa putt first and kept par, and Cantlay had a birdie opportunity to go to the podium after 72 standard holes. But his 7.6 meter putt this time hit the target rim. Missing this finishing phase, Cantlay and Morikawa both closed four rounds at -13. If it weren’t for Covid-19, Rahm, despite hitting 74 strokes on the closing day, would be enough to win overwhelmingly – the final benchmark was -16 with a three-stroke difference at the end of the tournament.

The last hole of the field became the sub-hole to determine the final title. Morikawa hit the fairway, and Cantlay went right. With a small muddy ball, Morikawa did not reach the green but the rough on the second shot. He chip in, 1.8 meters from the hole. Cantlay from the rough fairway sends the ball into the bunker. From the wet bunker, he escaped but the ball was twice as far from goal as his opponent.

Cantlay escaped the bunker on the first side hole in the Memorial curtain down on June 6.  Photo: AP

Cantlay escaped the bunker on the first side hole in the Memorial curtain down on June 6. Image: AP

With the same putt as the previous birdie slide, Cantlay this time putt – keep par. Morikawa pushed back, closer but failed. At that time, Cantlay breathed a sigh of relief and walked over to shake the hand of Memorial founder and chairman – the great golfer Jack Nicklaus with a record of 18 majors in 73 PGA Tour championships. The tournament has been held annually since 1976 on a field he designed in Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

Cantlay and Morikawa both won on this battlefield. Cantlay won Memorial 2019, and Morikawa won last year when the stadium hosted the Workday Charity Open, a week before Memorial.

Cantlay was born in 1992, won four PGA Tour championships. Morikawa is younger than Cantlay, owns the same number of titles, but including the major PGA Championship 2020.

According to the world golf rankings before Memorial, Morikawa ranked sixth and Cantlay 15th.

Quoc Huy

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