England's Justin Rose rallied from a four-shot deficit to win the Memorial yesterday with a flawless final round for his first victory in 7 years on the PGA Tour.
It was the second straight year the Memorial winner came from four shots behind. Tiger Woods did it a year ago, and the 29-year-old Rose was equally impressive. He played bogey-free at Muirfield Village, in Dublin, Ohio, for a 6-under 66 and a three-shot victory over Rickie Fowler.
Rose tapped in for par, thrust his fist in the air and slammed it down, a moment long overdue. Even his 1-year-old son Leo approved. As Rose held him aloft in his arms, the infant clapped his hands.
"I've had a few close calls over time, and you start to sometimes wonder why you can't get it done," Rose said.
It was his 162nd start in PGA Tour events, dating to that memorable performance he turned in as a 17-year-old amateur when he tied for fourth at Royal Birkdale in the 1998 British Open.
Fowler, the 21-year-old rookie trying to become the youngest winner on the course Jack Nicklaus built, fell apart briefly on the back nine to fall three shots behind, and never caught up. He closed with a 73 to finish runner-up for the second time this year.
Rose ran off three straight birdies to make the turn, saved par with a 20-footer on the 10th to keep his momentum, then seized control over the next hour despite making only one birdie.
Ricky Barnes offset two double bogeys by holing out from the fairway for eagle for the second time this week. He closed with a 73 and tied for third with Bo Van Pelt, who missed a short par putt on the final hole and had to settle for a 69.
Woods, a four-time winner of the tournament, closed with a 72 and tied for 19th to finish 12 shots behind. It was his worst finish at the Memorial since 2002.
He also hit three spectators with shots. None was injured and each received a golf glove from Woods.
"I kept hitting everybody out there today," Woods said with a wide grin. "Thank God I get [gloves] for free."
Spectator Jimmy Craig was hit in the thumb and side at the 15th hole. Woods apologized to him and shook his hand.
"It's worth a glove," Craig said.
In other tournaments:
* Nick Price shot a 4-under 67 to hold off Tommy Armour III and win the Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa, by four strokes.
Price had a 14-under 199 total to earn his second Champions Tour win this season and the third of his career.