Tuesday 23 January 2018

William McGirt wins Memorial Tournament in tie-break

Rory McIlroy finished two shots off the lead at the Memorial Tournament
Rory McIlroy finished two shots off the lead at the Memorial Tournament

William McGirt won a play-off against fellow American Jon Curran to claim his first PGA Tour title at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.

With the duo tied at 15 under after 72 holes, it took two more until a winner was decided and, when Curran bogeyed the 18th the second time round, McGirt wrapped up the victory with a six-foot putt for par.

Dustin Johnson finished third at 14 under, with the aid of a remarkable escape shot which only just escaped trees alongside the 10th but rolled 50 yards up a cart path, while Rory McIlroy, J.B. Holmes, Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar tied for fourth a shot further back.

McIlroy, who carded a final-day round of 68, has reverted back to a conventional putting grip this week at Muirfield Village and he appeared to have no issues on the green.

The 27-year-old used the cross-handed method when winning the Irish Open on his last appearance but he is now looking forward to the US Open, which begins in Oakmont on June 16.

McIlroy, who had set the clubhouse lead after his four-under-par round, told Sky Sports: "I holed a lot of nice putts this week and I holed a lot of nice putts today coming in.

"Overall I played pretty well this week and it bodes well for the US Open, which is the big one and the one on everybody's mind.

"If I can keep striking the ball the way I am and keep putting the way I am then I feel like I have a really good chance."

McGirt, 36, came into Sunday in a three-way tie for the lead alongside Woodland and Kuchar but a bogey-free round of 71 saw him hold off most of the contenders.

Curran carded a round of 70, including a vital birdie on the 17th, but failed to carry the momentum into the play-off.

Both men managed par on the first hole of the play-off but Curran found a fairway bunker when replaying the 18th.

McGirt chipped to seven feet and holed for par and Curran failed from his 30-foot par attempt to end a dramatic final day.

World number one Jason Day finished nine under, tied for 27th, while Jordan Spieth could only manage three under.

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