Viktor Hovland, at +1800 to win the 2023 Memorial Tournament prior to teeing off last Thursday, got a little bit of luck at the end of regulation on Sunday. He took advantage of that opportunity by winning Jack Nicklaus’s tournament on the first playoff hole over Denny McCarthy.
Rory McIlroy and Si Woo Kim, co-leaders after Round 3, faltered on Sunday, opening the door for Hovland, McCarthy, and Scottie Scheffler. Hovland finished his day with a 2-under 70 but was trailing McCarthy by one shot.
McCarthy, one par away from his first PGA Tour win, ended up driving into the rough on 18 and wound up with a bogey.
That was all Hovland needed, as his par on 18 in the first playoff hole gave him his fourth PGA Tour win of his career and first since back-to-back wins at Mayakoba in the fall of 2020 and ’21.
“It feels really cool to get my first win on the U.S. soil, especially at a tournament like this where this golf course is arguably harder than most major championship golf courses we play,” Hovland said. “It felt like a major. So it was really cool that I was able to get it done at a place like this.”
Hovland, who has also won the unofficial money event Hero World Challenge in each of the last two years, had posted great finishes in these big events in recent months. He now has five top 10s in his last eight starts, and all of them have come at majors or designated events.
He was third at The Players Championship, seventh at The Masters, and second at the PGA Championship. Given how he performed at a difficult Oak Hill and here at Muirfield Village this week, the Norwegian will be among the favorites at the U.S. Open in two weeks’ time.
For McCarthy, his best chance to win in his 157th start ended in extreme disappointment.
“It really sucks. I thought this was going to be the week,” McCarthy said after the tournament. “I haven’t been quite this close to the door to knock it down, but I’ve put myself in a spot with a chance to win a number of times, and it hasn’t happened yet.”
Scottie Scheffler, who made the cut by one stroke, fired off rounds of 68 and 67 over the weekend to jump all the way to third place, one shot behind the leaders and extending his streak of top-12 finishes to 14. For the second week in a row, the world’s top-ranked golfer didn’t get it done on the green, losing 8.5 strokes to the field on his putts.
Kim, going into the final round as a co-leader, wound up fourth at -5. Rory McIlroy settled for a tie for seventh with Adam Schenk at -3 after shooting a 75 on Sunday. Finishing one spot ahead in fourth were Jordan Spieth and Andrew Putnam.
Rounding out the top 10 in a tie for ninth were Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Despite the U.S. Open the following week, the RBC Canadian Open has drawn a decent field. McIlroy has won the last two editions of this event and will be joined by the likes of Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Sam Burns, and Tyrrell Hatton. Canadians Corey Conners, Adam Svensson, and Mackenzie Hughes will also be looking to become the first native son to win the Canadian Open in nearly 60 years.