Cantlay admits Memorial win was ‘weird’ after Jon Rahm’s Covid-19 withdrawal

Patrick Cantlay delivered a clutch birdie late in the round and a 12ft par putt in a playoff to win the Memorial on a Sunday filled with drama, a little rain and no Jon Rahm.

Cantlay closed with a one-under 71 and won the Memorial for the second time in three years, and he said he felt the same range of emotions in the final hour at Muirfield Village in his duel with Collin Morikawa.

But it wasn’t the same. Only a day earlier, Cantlay walked off the 18th green six shots behind Rahm, whose 64 ranked as one of the great rounds at the course Jack Nicklaus built and tied two Memorial records, including largest 54-hole lead. But Rahm tested positive for the coronavirus – he had been in the contact tracing protocol – and was withdrawn from the tournament.

“It was such a weird situation, so unfortunate,” Cantlay said. “Everyone, me included, knows it would be totally different today if that hadn’t happened. But there’s nothing I could do about it. I tried as hard as I could to reset and refocus.”

Just like that, Cantlay and Morikawa went from six shots behind to tied for the lead. And for so much of the final round, it stayed that way. Morikawa surged ahead with an 8ft birdie putt on the 15th, while Cantlay missed birdie putts from 8ft to tie him on the 15th, and then on the par-three 16th.

The round was halted for about five minutes because of a pop-up downpour while they were on the 17th green. When it resumed, Cantlay holed a 25ft birdie putt to tie, and Morikawa stayed in the game with a 12ft par.

Cantlay had a 25ft birdie putt for the win on the 18th in regulation that grazed the right side of the cup, leaving he and Morikawa (71) at 13-under.

Rahm finished his 54 holes at 18-under 198, tying the Memorial record. No one had ever lost a lead that large in the final round at Muirfield Village, though it has happened six times on the PGA Tour, most recently by Dustin Johnson in Shanghai in 2017.

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