By Sam McPherson
Winning The Memorial always has special meaning, thanks to tournament founder and golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Now Bryson DeChambeau can forever be linked with the Golden Bear after he emerged victorious in a three-way playoff on Sunday at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. DeChambeau birdied the second hole of sudden death to defeat Byeong-Hun An, while Kyle Stanley finished third after bogeying the first hole of extra play.
The three golfers finished the fourth round tied atop the leaderboard at 15-under par to force the playoff. An shot 69 on Sunday to catch DeChambeau, the third-round leader, who managed a 71 in the fourth round. Stanley had been one shot behind entering the final 18 holes and carded a 70 to get into the mix, too. DeChambeau won $1.6 million for the victory, while An and Stanley each won $783,200 for finishing in a tie for second.
Patrick Cantlay finished one shot out of the playoff, shooting a 71 on Sunday and failing to capitalize on earlier momentum over the weekend. Nineteen other golfers finished within five strokes of the leaders in a bunched-up weekend of competition that saw Tiger Woods briefly tie for the lead on Saturday before fading to finish in 23rd place.
This was the second career PGA Tour victory for DeChambeau in just his second year on tour. The 24-year-old Californian previously won the John Deere Classic in 2017, and he was the low amateur at the 2016 Masters as well. DeChambeau is one of just five players to win the NCAA individual title and the U.S. Amateur championship in the same year (2015): Nicklaus was the first to do it back in 1961.
However, the tournament wasn’t always destined to connect DeChambeau and Nicklaus. In Thursday’s first round, 23 players shot scores in the 60s, leaving the leaderboard quite bunched up at the top. Three players held the lead after shooting 65 to open the tournament: Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann. American Beau Hossler shot a 66 and stood a stroke behind the leaders, while 19 other golfers were within three strokes of Hossler.
In the second round, Niemann and Stanley earned a little separation, tying for the 36-hole lead at 11-under par. Niemann shot 68 on Friday, while Stanley posted a 66. The duo was two strokes ahead of An, who put together a nice round of 67 to finish Friday’s action at 9-under. Several golfers remained three behind the leaders an 8-under par heading into Saturday’s third round.
By Saturday afternoon, however, Niemann and Stanley had fallen into a second-place, in a three-way tie behind DeChambeau after shooting matching 70s. DeChambeau’s 66 in the third round put him at 14-under par, where he led Niemann, Stanley, and Cantlay by one shot. Cantlay also shot 66 on Saturday. Lurking two strokes off the lead was An, poised for Sunday’s plentiful opportunities.
>>MORE: This Week In Golf
Next On The Tee: FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind in Memphis hosts the PGA Tour next week, as many golfers prepare, one way or another, for the U.S. Open on June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. The FedEx St. Jude Classic defending champion is Daniel Berger, who also won the event in 2016. Other multi-time winners of this tournament include Lee Trevino, Nick Price, David Toms, and Justin Leonard — all of whom won at least one major in their careers.
Joining Berger in the field, and trying to dethrone him as champion, are former winners Fabian Gomez (2015), Ben Crane (2014), Harris English (2013), and Dustin Johnson (2012). An is in the field, too, as he tries to carry over his momentum from The Memorial. Other notables competing at TPC Southwind this week include longtime fan favorite John Daly, defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, and five-time U.S. Open runner up Phil Mickelson.
Ron Prichard designed the TPC Southwind course. The loop record in tournament play is 61, set by both Jay Delsing (1993) and Bob Estes (2001), while the tournament record is 26-under, established in 1996 by John Cook. The course promises low scores in all four rounds, as many players tune up for the U.S. Open the following week.
The TPC Southwind course plays 7,244 yards long and is a par 70.
Favorites: Daniel Berger, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka
Players to Watch: Byeong-Hun An, Billy Horschel, Phil Mickelson
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.