It's tough to say exactly happened over the final nine holes at the 2018 Memorial Tournament on Sunday. All I know for sure is that Bryson DeChambeau won in the first three-man playoff in event history over Kyle Stanley and Ben An with a thrilling birdie putt at the final hole.
But first let's recap how each player got into that playoff.
- Stanley birdied Nos. 14-17 before barely clipping a tree and making bogey at the last in regulation.
- DeChambeau hit five fairways on the day (and bogeyed two of those holes!) and three-putted the last.
- An birdied five of his last 14 holes to get to 15 under and into the playoff, though he was mostly an afterthought.
The Stanley stuff was particularly insane. The birdie putt he made on No. 17 was embarrassingly good, and it was followed by an embarrassingly bad break on the 18th. Here's a look at those two holes.
In the playoff, Stanley was eliminated on the first hole after not being able to get out of the rough on his second shot. He almost holed out a chip but made bogey to pars for DeChambeau and An. Then DeChambeau beat An on the second hole after An hit the flop shot of his life. DeChambeau's birdie was a nice rebound from his three-putt mishap at the end of regulation.
It's difficult to overstate how poor DeChambeau was off the tee on Sunday. After leading the field in driving on Saturday, he finished 58th in strokes gained off the tee on Sunday. He saved himself with a good short game and the fact that he took a one-stroke lead into the round. His ho-hum 1-under 71 was enough to extend the event, despite not having his best stuff.
"I can't believe I did it today," DeChambeau told Peter Kostis of CBS Sports. "I knew I was struggling with my ball-striking all week. I was fortunate enough to get it back in play and get up and down on almost every hole. I can't even describe it right now. To be able to win [Jack Nicklaus'] event is such an honor. He's the greatest to play. I'm speechless."
The victory is the second of DeChambeau's still-budding career. It's his sixth top 10 of the season and just the 62nd event of his PGA Tour career. His other win came in the 2017 John Deere Classic. Because he's had such a terrific season thus far, the "wait, is Bryson going to be at the Ryder Cup?" chatter has started, and I'm here for all of it. Bryson breaking down Louis Pasteur theories in Paris with his newspaper boy cap on a a stunned Phil Mickelson looks on is everything I need in this Ryder Cup.
But for now, there is a celebration. Memorial is not a major, a WGC or a playoff, but it's about as big a win as you can notch otherwise. DeChambeau took down a loaded top 10 that included Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson this week and held off several other names, including Tiger Woods. This is a big time bullet point on the resume, and DeChambeau did it about as dramatically as you possibly can do it. Grade: A+ (also A+ for the Tiger-like celebration)
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2018 Memorial.
Joaquin Niemann (T6): I don't know how much stock is left, but I want to purchase what's available. The 19-year-old Chilean missed on becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in the last 87 years, but he grabbed his third top 10 of the season, and it looks like he'll take home special temporary membership with his third top 10 of the year (that means he gets unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of 2018). And he did so with a birdie at the last hole, which is one of the five toughest holes on the course! At this point it would be surprising if he didn't earn his PGA Tour card for 2018-19. Again, he's 19 years old and won't be 20 until the end of the year. Grade: A+
Niemann birdies 18 to get to T-6, likely locking up special temporary Tour membership. Would mean he can accept unlimited sponsor invites the rest of the season. Now 3 top-10s in 5 starts as a pro.— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) June 3, 2018
God, I love watching Niemann swing the club.— Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson) June 3, 2018
Dustin Johnson (T8): Johnson finished 18th in strokes gained off the tee, which for him is like finishing outside the top 50. "I didn't hit enough fairways this week," Johnson told Amanda Balionis of CBS Sports. "I need to go back and work on drive for next week and then U.S. Open." He finished 12th in putting, though. If he does that in two weeks, he'll have two U.S. Open trophies to his name. Grade: A-
Great identification of his driving issues for DJ. Dead last in fairways hit and only 18th best in SG Driving with his power.— Jake Nichols (@jalnichols) June 3, 2018
Interestingly, has averaged only about +0.2 SG Driving per round at MV in his career
Rory McIlroy (T8): McIlroy showed out with a 64-69 weekend that included 11 birdies, 1 eagle and just 2 bogeys. He finished first in the field in strokes gained around the green, and his only real issue right now (other than a putter that he's sometimes at odds with) is stringing together four consecutive rounds of solid golf. Last week in Europe he was 12 under over the first two rounds and just 3 under on the weekend. This week, he was even over the first two rounds and 11 under on the weekend. If he puts the former together with the latter, he could cruise at Shinnecock: Grade: A-
Tiger Woods (T23): Tiger was fabulous for most of the week, especially from tee to green. He finished first in strokes gained in that category, and if he had putted at an average clip (0.0 strokes gained against the field), he probably would have won. It was honestly the best I've seen him hit the golf ball since I've been covering the sport (2013), and he looked -- and said he was -- comfortable working it both ways in a monster field at a great event. Bring me the U.S. Open (but leave the driver at home, Big Cat!)
Also, the Dublin, Ohio patrons were delirious for most of the last three days. They lost their minds when he holed out for eagle on Friday, and Woods pushed Golf Channel to post live TV coverage early on Sunday morning when tee times were moved up. As Zac Blair noted, Woods does not move the needle, he is the needle. Grade: A
Jordan Spieth (MC): Spieth actually found his putting stroke in the first round, but he lost it again in Round 2, shot 75-72 and missed just his sixth individual cut in the last two years. Since his crazy Sunday at the Masters, Spieth does not have a top-20 finish and will be taking some question marks into Shinnecock and the U.S. Open in two weeks. He's the caliber of player that can turn it on at any point, but he's certainly not streaking into the second major of 2018. Grade: F
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday and updated this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from the Memorial Tournament. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.
Thanks for stopping by.