The Columbus Dispatch
Memorial runner-up Mccarthy ‘heartbroken’ but looking forward
Denny Mccarthy had never come as close to winning on the PGA Tour as he did Sunday.
That did not lessen the blow of not closing the deal.
After leading the Memorial Tournament for most of the final round, Mccarthy bogeyed the 18th hole twice – first in regulation to fall into a tie with Viktor Hovland at 7-under par and then in the playoff.
“I’m heartbroken right now,” Mccarthy said. “It really sucks. I thought this was going to be the week.”
Mccarthy, 30, has played 157 PGA Tour events. He had never finished better than third before Sunday.
“I was making the par putts and just felt like nothing could get in my way today,” he said. “Yeah, it sucks because 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.”
Mccarthy is one of the tour’s top putters, and that skill propelled him to the top of a congested leaderboard. He made a 22-foot birdie putt on No. 2 to tie for the lead with Rory Mcilroy and 9and 13-foot putts for birdie to take the lead on No. 8. Par putts of 11, 131⁄2 and 8 feet on the back nine kept him in the lead.
“Obviously, that’s the strength of my game,” Mccarthy said. “I see these greens really well. I played well here last year (tied for fifth). I like hard golf courses. Yeah, I’m a good putter, but it’s more so the attitude that I have. It’s like playing defense in basketball. I feel like I can make every putt. That’s a great feeling to have, especially when you’re coming down the stretch.”
Then came No. 18. After Hovland birdied No. 17 and parred 18 to get within one shot of the lead, Mccarthy hit his tee shot into the rough and then laid up to avoid catastrophe on the treacherous 18th green. He left his approach shot 23 feet short and missed the putt.
In the playoff, Mccarthy again was in the rough. His second shot landed short of the green and rolled down the hill and stopped 44 yards from the cup. He chipped to within 11 feet, 9 inches. But that par putt lipped around the left edge.
“The one on the playoff hole really looked like it was going to go in,” Mccarthy said.
Hovland then made his par putt from just under 7 feet to consign Mccarthy to
“I like being in that moment,” Mccarthy said. “That’s exactly what I want to be playing golf for. I was definitely nervous and I definitely had some adrenaline, but I feel comfortable in that situation.
“I love that aspect of being a competitor when it starts to feel a little uncomfortable. How can you control that? How can you manage your emotions out there? I don’t know the last time I’ve felt quite that amped up, but this can only help me. I’ll use this as a learning experience to try and get better.”