Monday, June 4, 2012

The 2012 Memorial Tournament Presented By Nationwide Insurance--Post tournament coverage. Tiger Wins!

Wow, what a final day of golf at the Memorial Tournament.  Jack Nicklaus definitely had Muirfield Village up to the task of perplexing the game's best players.  But in the end, it was Tiger Woods pulling out a 2-stroke victory over Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero.

The final round started with Woods and Rickie Fowler in the penultimate pairing, followed by Sabbatini and Spencer Levin, who at 8-under par held the 54 hole lead.  The one other time this year Levin held a lead going into the final round, he ended up falling to Kyle Stanley at the Waste Management Phoenix  Open.

Tiger Woods started the front nine strong, birdieing four of the first seven holes and was one back of Levin after seven.  However, bogeys on 8 and 10 threatened to derail his round as he fell back to six-under par and three back of Levin.  Levin was seemingly going to run away with the tournament with a front-nine 35 to take a three shot lead heading into the back nine.

Woods parred 11-14 to remain at six-under par.  Levin, however, started to struggle, going 4-over par in the first 4 holes of the back nine.  This dropped him out of a lead.  The lead went to Rory Sabbatini, who began the 15th hole at seven-under par and one stroke ahead of Tiger Woods.  While all this was going on, Andres Romero was completing a 5-under par 67 to hold the clubhouse lead at 7-under par.

Woods needed to make a rally.  After reaching the par-5 15th hole in two shots and two-putting for birdie, Woods reached the tough par-3 16th.  The tee shot was struck well but airmailed the green and settled in deep rough.  As this was going on, Levin birdied 15 and Sabbatini parred to remain at 8-under par.  Woods needed a great shot just to have a makeable par putt.  But what he did next can only be summed up as amazing.  With a wide-open stance and clubface, Woods was able to hit the ball from the difficult lie and have it die into the hole for a miraculous birdie to reach 8-under par.

On the same hole, Sabbatini, now a co-leader with Woods, skulled his tee shot into the back bunker and was unable to get up-and-down for par.  He fell into a tie for second at 7-under par.

After pars from all the leaders at 17 besides a bogey from Levin, the final two groups reached the 18th.  After a beautiful tee shot, Tiger Woods had 175 yards left in the middle of the fairway.  Putting one of the best swings I have seen from him in years on the ball, Woods' shot ended up 9 feet from the hole for a tournament-clinching birdie.  The scene was set.  Woods set up over the ball, and for the first time in a while I knew the putt was in before he hit it.  Woods posted 9-under par.

Sabbatini needed a miracle.  A holed shot from the fairway was his last hope.  But a drive that missed the fairway cost him the shot, and he made par to finish in a tie for second at 7-under par.  Levin finished at 5-under par and another lead lost on the final day.

The win was Woods' 73rd on the PGA Tour, tying him with Nicklaus for 2nd all time behind Sam Snead.  He moved into 3rd in the FedEx Cup standings and 4th in the Official World Golf Ranking.


Rickie Fowler, going for his 5th straight top-10 finish, struggled to a 12-over par 84
Luke Donald remained #1 in the OWGR after Rory McIlroy missed his third straight cut
Woods led the field in GIR

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