<image="1" align="left" />Adam Scott threatened to win his second consecutive PGA Tour tournament in The Memorial at Muirfield Village today.
But ultimately, a couple of mistakes and a brutal piece of bad luck cost him the title.
Scott finished tied-fourth after he carded a one-under-par 71 that could so easily have been so much better. Japanese sensation Hideki Matsuyama, just 22, won the tournament with a brilliant birdie at the 18th to reach a playoff with Kevin Na, then nailing a downhill, sliding three-metre par putt on the first playoff hole for the tournament.
Na, the idiosynchratic Korean-born American, started seven shots back and bolted around in eight-under 64 to post 13-under, waited two hours as a string of contending players threw it away. But his hooked tee shot on the first playoff hole into a water hazard cost him the championship.
Scott was far from the only player to see his chances slip away. Bubba Watson began with the lead but a double bogey seven in the par-five 15th, after he sliced his tee shot out of bounds and into an adjacent back yard, cost him.
Scott started the day at nine-under par, three from the lead, and he quickly birdied the third, fourth and fifth holes to move into contention. By the time he rolled in a six-metre birdie putt at the par-four 11th hole, he had a share of the lead with Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama and it had the feel of the Crowne Plaza Invitational last week, when he reeled in the leaders on the final day.
But in a dramatic closing stretch, Scott flared his tee shot right at the 12th hole, it plugged in the bank inside a hazard forcing him to go to the drop zone, and he took double bogey. Suddenly he was three shots back from the lead, although a nice comeback birdie at the 13th put him back in the running.
At the 14th he took another bogey after his approach plugged in the left greenside trap, and at the par-five 15th he gave back another shot after his third hit the flag stick and spun right back off the green.
This was a terrible piece of bad luck; had it not cannoned into the flag he had a good birdie chance. As it happened, he could not get up and down from the front of the green and Matsuyama hit it tight and made birdie. It was compounded when his par-saving attempt at the par-three 16th lipped out from two metres.
In truth, Scott would not be proud of his faltering back nine. He played brilliantly for 11 holes (five-under) but gave back four shots from that point on in a back nine of 39. Fortunately, he is a resilient soul who tends to remain philosophical in disappointing moments.
The world No. 1 retains his top-ranking, and is resting up this week for the United States Open at Pinehurst starting next Thursday. Of the other Australians in the field at Muirfield Village, Jason Day, Aaron Baddeley and Marc Leishman tied for 37th.
Meanwhile Karrie Webb continued her strong form on the LPGA Tour with a fast-finishing 67 to finish tied-eighth in the Shoprite Classic in New Jersey. American Stacy Lewis won easily to regain the world No. 1 ranking on the verge of the Women's US Open.