In a field full of legendary names, the two left at the end of the Memorial on Sunday afternoon were… Curran and McGirt?
Sure, fans who gathered at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, would have preferred to see Dustin Johnson (third) or Rory McIlroy (tied for fourth) rise up to take the crown, but there’s no denying the excitement that a playoff brings as William McGirt, 12 years after turning pro delivered his first PGA title by knocking off Jon Curran, who is seeking his inaugural title.
Both finished the course at 15-under, leading to a sudden-death playoff starting on No. 18. Both players parred it on the first go, but Curran bogeyed it on the second to give McGirt the win. McGirt takes home 500 FedEx Cup and $1.53 million for his victory.
McGirt was 6-under through two rounds before catching fire on Saturday and recording an 8-under 64 featuring a 5-under front nine. On Sunday he seemed to playing quite conservatively, recording just a single birdie and 17 pars to finish with a 1-under 71.
Curran started the round a stroke behind and was still there through 16 holes thanks to a costly bogey on No. 12. He delivered in the clutch with a birdie 3 on No. 17 to tie the two men at the top.
Most of the eyes were following Top 10 players Johnson and McIlroy on Sunday. Johnson was the prohibitive favorite after Thursday when he torched the course with a 64, using two different stretches of three straight birdies and another of four in a row. He was 13-under entering Sunday and took the lead on the front nine with three birdies. He gave it all back and more down the stretch, however; bogeying 10, 12, 13, and 16 to fall short.
McIlroy fell two back-nine bogeys short of making it a three-man playoff. The No. 3 player in the world was 9-under entering Sunday but began turning heads when he reached 3-under threw 11 to get to 12-under. Bogeys on 12 and 14 knocked him out of the competition, even as he birdied 15-17 to try and make a desperate last charge.
World No. 1 Jason Day was in close contention after three rounds at 11-under, but fell apart on Sunday with a 2-over 74 in which he was 2-under through four holes, then committed five bogeys and a double-bogey the rest of the way, dropping to a tie for 27th.
World No. 2 Jordan Spieth fell out of contention a day earlier. At 6-under through two rounds, he shot 3-over the rest of the way with a 74 on Saturday and a 73 on Sunday.
The PGA Tour resumes Thursday with the St. Jude’s Classic.