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DUBLIN, Ohio – The formula was all the same – 18 holes, total scores, even a playoff hole tossed in for good measure – but the final round at the Memorial was not normal.
“There's maybe a little hint of something I can't quite put my finger on,” said Patrick Cantlay, who beat Collin Morikawa on the first extra hole for his second victory at Muirfield Village. “But the emotions I feel out there and the focus that it took today was just as any other tournament.”
Unsaid in that assessment was one of the strangest days in PGA Tour history after Jon Rahm, who was riding a six-stroke lead and a record-tying 54-hole total, was forced to withdraw from the event after testing positive for COVID-19.
It was always going to be surreal for Cantlay and Morikawa, who were caught in Rahm’s contact-tracing wake after having been paired with the Spaniard this week, and it started almost immediately after learning of Rahm’s plight.
“It took me an hour or so to really just digest what had happened,” Morikawa said. “He deserved to go out and play really well and he was 18 under. The rules are rules and you have to follow guidelines.”
Both players finished with 1-under 71s for 13-under totals, which means Rahm would have had to only shoot a 74 to win outright.