When you shoot a 68 while playing in the final pairing of a PGA Tour event and your playing partner stalls out, you’re supposed to win the golf tournament. Instead? Adam Scott, playing with 54-hole leader Martin Kaymer in the final pairing, went 34-34 after starting two up on Patrick Cantlay (playing in front of them) but got absolutely torched down the stretch.
That’s because Cantlay went out and shot a filthy 8-under 64 to take the second PGA Tour event of his career by two over Scott and four over Kaymer (who shot 72). Cantlay matchedon Sunday, but that was mere foreshadowing for what was to come on the back nine with a just-as-impressive 33 that, like the front, did not include a bogey.
As Kaymer started to stumble behind him — he made bogeys at No. 9, No. 12, No. 13 and No. 18 — Cantlay went at flags down the stretch. His two birdies on the par 5s totaled 13 inches (both were near eagles), and he added a long 17-footer for birdie on the par-4 14th. The show commenced, and the rout seemed on, but Scott wouldn’t relent even as Kaymer did.
There’s not much else Scott could have done on this Sunday. After making consecutive birdies at the 14th and 15th holes — his fourth and fifth birds of the day — Scott looked at the leaderboard and grimaced. He was still three down. So he went out and birdied the 16th, too, and then nearly the 17th. It still wasn’t enough, but it did get tense for a bit.
Up ahead, Cantlay left his approach into No. 18 short in the bunker and had to pitch out way past the hole and let the slope feed it back toward the cup. It left him with an 8-foot putt to seal the win. He canned it for the 269 total, of which only five players were within eight strokes.
Cantlay didn’t exactly come from out of nowhere. He’s the No. 15 player in the world and has finished in the top 10 at each of the first two majors of 2019. He’s a major-winning talent, even if his only victory came at a fall event in 2017. This is his fourth straight top-10 finish and should be enough to vault him into the top 10 in the world for the first time in his career.
The former UCLA Bruin entered the PGA Tour as one of the most decorated amateurs of this century. That was before a back injury and the death of his former caddie limited him to just six OWGR starts between 2013 and 2017 (all in 2014). He’s played his way back among the greats, but a limited schedule and no high-profile wins have kept him flying under the radar.
I’m not sure that’s going to be the case anymore.
There was a great moment after Cantlay closed on No. 18 on Sunday where he walked over to shake host Jack Nicklaus’ hand. It’s a rite of passage and something that happens every tournament at Muirfield Village. He looked at Nicklaus, whom he’s built a relationship with over the years, and uttered two words that were as true as any of the shots he hit all day. “I finished.” Yes, he did. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Memorial Tournament.
Jordan Spieth (T7): I’m still hesitant, and here’s why. Spieth didn’t crack the top 60 (!) in strokes gained on approach shots but held his score together with his putting (top 10) and his play around the greens (second). He chipped in for birdie several times, and needed to based on some of the spots he was leaving himself. Look, did I love watching him do vintage Spieth things where he looked like he didn’t know what course he was playing en route to a top-10 finish? Absolutely. I’m just dubious that the ball-striking I’ve seen in recent weeks can hold up at a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach where the best ball-strikers will emerge. When he wins by five you can remind me of this. Grade: A-
Tiger Woods (T9): What money cannot purchase is the grin Tiger had on his face when he was interviewed after his round by CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis and said, “I played really well today.” He said he hit it crisp and solid, and I could not agree more! Tiger looked terrific all week despite not winning, and this version is the one I think we all expected to show up at Bethpage Black a few weeks ago. Not the guy who was going to contend and win every week, but the one who could if he touched something near his ceiling. Expectations are (and should be) high for Pebble Beach after he finished No. 12 in the field from tee to green. Grade: A-
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy (MC): Two top-10 players in the world — playing together — both surprisingly missed their first cuts in a long time. For Thomas, it was his first MC since last year’s Open Championship. For McIlroy, it was even longer. He hadn’t missed one since last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. They’ll both have another run at it next week at the Canadian Open before heading to Pebble Beach the week after that. McIlroy needs to not hit the ball out of the bounds off the tee, and Thomas needs to avoid water holes. He hit it in the drink twice on Friday afternoon, and both came on par 3s with loads of water. I don’t have much concern about either player, but definitely want to see them show out next week in Canada ahead of Pebble. Grade: F
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 4 of the Memorial Tournament. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.
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