Dublin, Ohio — Viktor Hovland handled the toughest stretch at Muirfield Village and delivered three clutch putts at the end to win the Memorial in a playoff over hard-luck Denny McCarthy on Sunday.
Hovland closed with a 2-under 70 on another brutal test on a course baked all week by sun, forcing the playoff with a 30-foot birdie on the 17th — the only one on that hole in the final round — and saving par from behind the 18th green.
Back to the 18th in the playoff, Hovland barely got onto the front of the green, some 60 feet away from the back pin, and two-putted by holing a 7-foot par putt.
It was his fourth PGA Tour victory and first on American soil, this one with a $3.6 million winner’s check and a handshake from host Jack Nicklaus. The Norwegian’s previous wins were in Mexico twice and Puerto Rico.
It was a crushing loss for McCarthy, one of the purest putters on the PGA Tour. He showed his touch by saving crucial pars and playing bogey-free on a day when the average score was just under 75. His only bogey came on the 18th hole — twice.
Rory McIlroy chipped in from below the fourth green for birdie and had the lead on the front nine, but he gave away far too many shots on the back — three bogeys in a row — for a 75 that took him out of the picture.
Scottie Scheffler closed with a 67 and finished third and missed the playoff by one shot, remarkable considering he made the cut on the number. The No. 1 player in the world has not finished worse than 12th in his 13 starts this year.