DUBLIN, Ohio – David Lingmerth had lost his previous two playoffs and was hoping that trend would end at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. It did, but only after Justin Rose’s scrambling ways came to an end.
Lingmerth earned his first PGA TOUR title at the tournament hosted by the greatest player in the game’s history, Jack Nicklaus. Lingmerth lifted the trophy after a three-hole, sudden-death playoff defined by improbable par saves.
“I’ve been in a few playoffs. You win some, you lose some,” Lingmerth said. “But I didn’t feel that it was my turn to lose this time.”
The three-hole playoff was the longest in Memorial history. Lingmerth, 27, started the week at No. 212 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 100 in the FedExCup. He’s now 28th in the FedExCup.
Lingmerth was born in Sweden before coming to the United States to play college golf. He played for West Florida before transferring to Arkansas, where he helped the Razorbacks to a runner-up finish in the 2009 NCAA Championship. Jack Nicklaus video-chatted with Lingmerth’s parents in Sweden after their son’s victory.
“It’s an honor being here, and winning is surreal,” Lingmerth said.
He has a slight tie to the state where he won his first TOUR title. Lingmerth’s uncle, Goran, appeared in one game for the Cleveland Browns in 1987. Goran Lingmerth, a placekicker, set the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record with eight field goals in a single game while at Northern Arizona University. Goran is now a PING rep and gave David his first set of clubs when David was 12.
“If I didn’t have him, I might not even have played golf,” David said. “He’s pushed me and tried to get me to the mindset that I can do whatever I set my mind to.”
David had to overcome a three-shot deficit at the start of the day.
Rose led the field by three at the start of the day, but shot 72 in the final round. Rose was seeking his second Memorial win – he also won in 2010 – and second victory in his past five TOUR starts. His next start will be the U.S. Open, a tournament he won in 2013.
Lingmerth is scheduled to play a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier Monday.
This was Lingmerth’s 68th PGA TOUR start. He lost a playoff at the 2013 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, the same season he was runner-up to Tiger Woods in THE PLAYERS Championship. Lingmerth also lost a playoff on the Web.com Tour in 2012.
Lingmerth missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation, but it still looked like he’d win the title outright when Justin Rose shanked his approach shot from a fairway bunker. He hit his 56-yard pitch shot to 3 feet, though, to force a playoff. Rose had made a 12-foot birdie putt on the previous hole.
The drama continued in the playoff. Rose holed a 20-foot par putt, but Lingmerth matched him with a 10-footer.
“When I made that putt on the first extra hole, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to steal this one.’ But it wasn’t to be,” Rose said. “I think I made too many mistakes out there.”
Lingmerth got up-and-down from a bunker on the second extra hole. He won with par on the next hole, the par-4 10th, after Rose’s tee shot came to rest behind trees.
“Playoffs are exciting and my heart was beating, but I think I handled it pretty well,” Lingmerth said.