DUBLIN, Ohio — Tiger Woods made an incredible birdie at the par-3 16th hole and then capped it off with a birdie on the 18th to close out a 5-under 67 and win his fifth Memorial Tournament title of his illustrious career.
Tiger began the round four shots back, but Spencer Levin and Rory Sabbatini struggled down the stretch, while Tiger got stronger.
It is Tiger’s second win of the PGA Tour season, also winning Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational in March.
The win ties Tiger Woods with Jack Nicklaus – the tournament host – with 73 career victories.
Tiger won Memorial the last time he played it – in 2009 – and also won it three times from 1999-2001.
See how it all unfolded on Sunday:
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Tiger officially the Memorial champion
Rory Sabbatini, from just above a fairway bunker, gets his second shot to the green, but does not hole it out and Tiger Woods wins his fifth Memorial title, ending the tournament at 9 under.
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No. 18, Par 4, 444 yards
Now with a one-shot lead, Tiger can play the 18th conservatively, but will need to avoid a careless bogey like he had on Saturday.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron and hits a low stinger right down the fairway and should be able to get home in two.
• Approach shot: With 175 yards to the hole, Tiger takes 9-iron and hits it into the middle of the green and uses the back edge to let the ball roll back to the hole and leaves himself about 10 feet for birdie.
• On the green: With a birdie here, Tiger would effectively put the tournament away. Tiger drains the putt to cap off a 5-under 67 and potentially win his 5th Memorial title of his career. Sabbatini will have to hole out with his second shot to tie Tiger.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 5 under (round over; 9 under for tournament)
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No. 17, Par 4, 478 yards
Wow! That was an incredible turn of events, with Tiger improbably moving to 8 under with an incredible chip at the par-3 16th hole. Tiger enters the final two holes of the day. He is 3 over on the week on Nos. 17-18, including a double at 18.
• Off the tee: With 3-wood, Tiger chooses to simply put it into the middle of the fairway, making a solid swing on it and setting himself up with a nice chance to attack the green.
• Approach shot: Tiger hits a nice shot into the green, giving himself about 20 feet up the hill for birdie.
• On the green: Now with a one-shot lead after Sabbatini bogeys the 16th hole, Tiger misses to the birdie attempt to the left and taps in for a par to stay at 8 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under (thru 17 holes; 8 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rory Sabbatini misses a 12-foot par putt at the 16th hole to fall back to 7 under.
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No. 16, Par 3, 215 yards
Tiger has pulled to within a shot of the lead, and Sabbatini is in a bit of trouble in the 15th fairway (he would par). Tiger is even at the par-3 16th hole, with a bogey, birdie and par.
• Off the tee: With it downwind, Tiger has to be careful not to fly it too far. He does, hitting it to the back of the green and it bounds into the rough.
• Around the green: Facing a tough chip, Tiger flops it and drains the birdie chip to move into a tie for the lead. Tiger erupts into fist pumps and crowd goes nuts on an improbable shot.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under (thru 16 holes; 8 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Andres Romero birdies the 18th to get into the clubhouse at 7 under.
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No. 15, Par 5, 529 yards
Tiger needs to be thinking eagle here, which will dictate the use of driver.
• Off the tee: Tiger does pull driver and smacks it right down the middle of the fairway and should be able to attack the pin, which is in the front left.
• Second shot: After a long wait in the fairway, Tiger has 220 yards left to the pin. With 3-iron, Tiger hits an incredible shot to about 35 feet behind the hole. He’ll have a slope to deal with on his eagle putt.
• On the green: The pace on this putt is critical, and Tiger plays it perfectly, with the ball coming to rest about two feet to the right of the cup, tapping in for birdie to get to within a shot of the lead.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 15 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin moves back to 6 under with a birdie at the par-4 14th hole. Rory Sabbatini just misses a birdie and stays at 8 under, two shots ahead of Tiger, Levin and Andres Romero.
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No. 14, Par 4, 363 yards
While the 14th isn’t the time to step on the gas, it’ll be interesting to see if Tiger starts taking chances off the tee.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron off the tee for the second-straight day and calmly puts it into the middle of the fairway at the short par 4.
• Approach shot: With the pin tucked in the back, Tiger attacks it and goes about two yards too far and settles in the rough on the back.
• Around the green: Tiger nearly chips in for birdie, going by on the right side of the cup, missing falling by less than an inch. It settles about two feet beyond the hole.
• On the green: Tiger puts it right in the middle of the cup and cards a par. He’ll need to take advantage of the par-5 15th hole to put some pressure on Sabbatini, who is at 8 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 14 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin picks up double-bogey on the par-4 13th hole to fall back to 5 under.
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No. 13, Par 4, 455 yards
Tiger gets through the back-nine’s toughest test with a par, with only Sabbatini and Levin left to play it. Sabbatini manages to make birdie at the 12th and Levin picks up bogey to put Sabbatini in the lead at 8 under, one shot ahead of Levin and two ahead of Tiger and Andres Romero.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes a confident swing with a fairway metal and slams it up the right side of the fairway.
• Approach shot: With a downhill, 165-yard shot in front of him, Tiger takes pitching wedge and leaves himself about 15 feet for birdie from behind the hole.
• On the green: Tiger puts perfect pace on his birdie attempt, but plays it too far left and it rests about six inches to the left of the cup. He taps in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 13 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler is 6 over for the day and 1 over for the tournament. Romero gets to 6 under behind an eagle at the par-5 15th hole.
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No. 12, Par 3, 184 yards
The 12th is the second-hardest hole on the course today, and Tiger has played it double-bogey and bogey the past two rounds. Tiger is two shots back of Spencer Levin and needs to limit mistakes coming down the stretch.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes 7-iron and yells at it to “Bite!” but probably needed a bit of a kick, leaving himself more than 85 feet to the pin, but safely on the green. A two-putt here would be an accomplishment.
• On the green: Tiger’s lag putt comes up about six feet short, a nice lag putt to say the least. Tiger drains the second putt to save par, with the ball hitting the back of the cup.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 12 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin stays at 8 under with a nice up-and-down from the greenside rough at No. 11. Rory Sabbatini moves to within a shot of the lead with a birdie at the 11th.
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No. 11, Par 5, 567 yards
Again, a hole where Tiger will have a big decision over whether to take driver off the tee. He hasn’t taken the big stick on the previous three days.
• Off the tee: He sticks with his game plan and takes less-than-driver (3-wood) and hammers it up the left side, but will have some obstacles on his lay-up.
• Second shot: With no chance to go after the green in two, Tiger simply advances it up the fairway and sets himself up with a likely wedge into the green.
• Approach shot: From about 110 yards, Tiger plays a knock-down wedge and lands the ball about six feet right of the pin.
• On the green: Tiger takes his time studying this putt, looking it over from every angle, including help from caddie Joe Lacava. But the studying doesn’t pan out, missing the putt to the left and he taps in for a par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 11 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin picks up his first bogey, two-putting from 20 feet at the 10th hole to fall back to 8 under, two ahead of Tiger and Rory Sabbatini.
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No. 10, Par 4, 471 yards
Tiger has played the back nine at 3 over this week, so will need to stay steady and hope that Spencer Levin starts feeling the nerves of chasing his first PGA Tour victory.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes driver and pummels it up the left side of the fairway, posing with his follow through.
• Approach shot: For the first time all week, Tiger lets go of a club at impact, double-crossing his second shot into a greenside bunker on the left.
• Around the green: Tiger tries to hit a long bunker shot over the ridge, but it hits the ridge and bits, leaving Tiger about 12 feet for par.
• On the green: Tiger misses the 12-footer for par and picks up his second bogey in three holes. He is three shots back of Spencer Levin, who is in trouble off the tee at the 10th.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 10 holes; 6 under for tournament)
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No. 9, Par 4, 412 yards
Despite his first dropped shot of the day, Tiger is only two back after Spencer Levin picks up his sixth straight par after an opening birdie.
• Off the tee: With fairway metal, Tiger takes it up the right side of the fairway and it rolls out just into the intermediate cut of rough.
• Approach shot: Tiger has to take it right over some trees in front of him, using 9-iron to launch it high and about 25 feet over the flag. Tiger has only missed one green on Sunday.
• On the green: Tiger finds the right speed, but plays his birdie putt a bit too far to the left and settles for a simple par to card a 3-under 33 on the front.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 9 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin goes wayward off the 8th tee, but manages to get up and down from a greenside bunker to save par and stay at 9 under.
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No. 8, Par 3, 185 yards
Tiger is now one shot off the lead after three straight birdies. He has parred the par-3 8th hole each day.
• Off the tee: With 7-iron, Tiger immediately doesn’t like his tee ball and for good reason – the ball hits the right rough and funnels into a greenside bunker. Depending on his lie, this could be a difficult up-and-down.
• Around the green: Tiger has no shot at attacking the pin out of the bunker and has to take it out to the right of the flag and it runs about 20 feet past, which he’ll have for par.
• On the green: Tiger doesn’t play enough break or speed and the ball cuts under the hole and settles eight inches to the right. He taps that in for a bogey, but stays two back of Spencer Levin, who pars the par-5 7th.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 8 holes; 7 under for tournament)
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No. 7, Par 5, 563 yards
Will he or won’t he? Pull the driver that is. Tiger’s philosophy all week has been to take 3-wood, fairway metal or iron off the tee, only pulling the big stick a handful of times. But, now in attack mode, Tiger could be thinking about reaching in two.
• Off the tee: He does take driver and smacks it down the middle of the fairway and should be able to attack the green with his second shot.
• Second shot: Tiger takes 5-wood from about 250 yards and lands it on the right side of the green and it funnels back toward the middle of the green, setting up a 30-foot eagle putt.
• On the green: Tiger nearly holes the long eagle attempt, touching the left side of the cup and it settles about a foot past. He taps that in for a third-straight birdie to move to 8 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under (thru 7 holes; 8 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Both Spencer Levin (9 under) and Rory Sabbatini (7 under) par the par-4 6th hole.
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No. 6, Par 4, 447 yards
Tiger will need to take advantage of the par 5s if he hopes to make a move on Sunday. That birdie on No. 5 was his second of the week at the hole. Tiger has a birdie (Round 2) and two pars on the par-4 6th this week.
• Off the tee: Tiger hits yet another fairway, taking fairway metal off the tee and slashing it up the left side of the fairway. With water and a big bunker protecting the left pin location, Tiger will need to be creative to attack this pin.
• Approach shot: Tiger plays a low punch shot and hollers at it to “Bite!” and it does so, about 15 feet beyond the hole.
• On the green: And Tiger drains his lengthy birdie putt, putting perfect pace on the downhill putt and he moves to 7 under. He lifted his putter into the air as the ball tracked the last three feet. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler picks up another bogey after another poor tee shot and falls to 2 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 6 holes; 7 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Both Spencer Levin and Rory Sabbatini make par on the par-5 5th hole, staying at 9 under and 7 under respectively.
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No. 5, Par 5, 527 yards
Tiger has had trouble cutting the corner on this extreme dogleg right the past two days, putting it into the rough Friday and Saturday, leaving him little chance of scoring on the par 5.
• Off the tee: Tiger finds the fairway, taking his 3-wood up the left side and he’ll have about 250 yards into the green. Attacking could be dangerous, as water lines the left side of the green.
• Second shot: Tiger is being ultra-aggressive today, again attacking the flag and actually flying past it and settling into the intermediate cut of rough at the back of the green, leaving himself about 45 feet for eagle.
• Around the green: Tiger hits his third shot coming back down the green and leaves himself about seven feet to the right of the flag for birdie. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler will have about four feet for a birdie.
• On the green: Tiger picks up another birdie, sliding in his 7-footer to get to 6 under for the tournament, and three back of Spencer Levin. Fowler also makes birdie to get back to 3 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 5 holes; 6 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Rory Sabbatini had moved to 8 under after a birdie at No. 3, but gave it right back with a bogey at No. 4, staying two shots behind Spencer Levin, who parred both holes. Aaron Baddeley has joined Tiger at 5 under with a birdie at the par-5 7th.
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No. 4, Par 3, 200 yards
Ouch. Rickie Fowler will need to shake off that double-bogey (including three putts from within six feet). Meanwhile, Tiger seems to be in attack mode, going after some tough pin locations the last two holes.
• Off the tee: Another extreme pin location, with the flag tucked next to the large bunker on the left side of the green, pushing most players to take it right of the flag. Tiger still fires at the pin, but goes past the flag and lands it about 20 feet above the hole. Fowler continues his poor play, with his tee ball finding the greenside bunker.
• On the green: Tiger gives his birdie attempt a nice run, but comes up about two feet short and settles for another par. Meanwhile, Rickie misses a 9-footer for par and drops another shot. He has gone bogey, double-bogey, bogey to fall back to 2 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 4 holes; 5 under for tournament)
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No. 3, Par 4, 401 yards
Tiger matches Rickie’s birdie at No. 1 with a high risk-reward birdie at No. 2, leaving both players at 5 under after Fowler bogeys No. 2 due to a poor tee shot.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes iron off the tee, playing it safe at the dangerous par 4, and it runs right down the middle of the fairway. Rickie goes left again, but it kicks out of the trees and he should have a go at the green.
• Approach shot: With the pin location in the back right, Tiger launches it high into the air, taking it right over the flag and it settles about 15 feet beyond the flag. He is a bit upset at carrying a bit further than he wanted to. Fowler’s tee ball finds the fairway, but he is blocked by a tree. He plays a big hook, but it comes to rest in a greenside bunker.
• On the green: Tiger’s birdie attempt has eyes for the hole, but he doesn’t hit it quite hard enough and it slips under the hole and he taps in for a par. He hangs his head with hands on his knees after the miss. Fowler doesn’t get up-and-down, three-putting from less than six feet for a double-bogey to fall back to 3 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 3 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Both Rory Sabbatini and Spencer Levin par the par-4 2nd hole, with Levin staying at 9 under and Sabbatini at 7 under.
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No. 2, Par 4, 455 yards
Rickie made the first move with a nice birdie at No. 1, and the multitude of fans will not effect Fowler as much as it would someone else, as the former Oklahoma State star is used to the exposure. Both players walk to the next tee, where staying in the fairway is paramount.
• Off the tee: After watching Fowler go well left and into the trees, Tiger plays his power fade right into the middle of the fairway. Tiger has hit 72 percent of fairways and 72 percent of greens in regulation.
• Approach shot: Tiger will have to be brave to go after the back right pin location, as he will flirt with disaster. But, he takes dead aim and lands it behind the flag and is pins back to about pin-high and eight feet to the right. Fowler muscles his ball out of the rough and catches a greenside bunker.
• On the green: After a gust of wind causes him to back off once, Tiger drains his birdie putt to get to 5 under and four back of the lead. Meanwhile, Fowler can’t get up-and-down from the bunker and picks up bogey to fall back to 5 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 2 holes; 5 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Spencer Levin is showing calmness early, picking up birdie at No. 1 to extend his lead to two strokes over Rory Sabbatini.
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No. 1, Par 4, 470 yards
Throngs of fans are follow the Tiger-Rickie group, some sporting the flat-brim hats in honor of Rickie, with plenty of others donning red like Tiger does. Both golfers definitely make fashion statements on Sundays, with Tiger wearing his red shirt and black slacks, while Rickie is wearing his completely orange outfit. Needless to say, you won’t be able to miss them on the course.
• Off the tee: For the fourth-straight day, Tiger takes 3-wood and he hammers it down the left side of the fairway, barely even looking at the shot before reaching down to pick up his tee. Fowler also finds the fairway, his ball going up the right side.
• Approach shot: From about 160 yards, Tiger yells at the wind to help the ball a bit, but he safely lands on the green and gives himself about 25 feet for birdie to the right of the flag. Meanwhile, Rickie gets inside of Tiger, about 10 feet under the hole.
• On the green: Facing a double-breaker, Tiger gives his birdie putt a good whack and it slides by on the right and settles for a simple par. Fowler, meanwhile, drains his 10-footer to get to 6 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 1 hole; 4 under for tournament)
• Elsewhere on the course: Jonathan Byrd and Aaron Baddeley have both joined Tiger at 4 under, with Byrd picking up birdie at No. 1 and Baddeley making a nice birdie at No. 3.
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Update #1: 1:08 p.m. EDT
Aaron Baddeley opened his round with a nice birdie to move to 3 under. Some notable rounds: Greg Owen is 4 under thus far and has moved to 1 under for the tournament; J.B. Holmes is also 4 under on his round and has moved to 1 over; former Memorial champ K.J. Choi is 4 under on his round as well and is at 2 over.
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Round 3 coverage
Memorial notebook: Rickie Fowler has put together a scintillating stretch of golf, and the world will get to see it when he is paired with Tiger Woods on Sunday. Notes.
Looking ahead: With U.S. Open sectionals set to take place in two days, and many involving players in the Memorial field, Monday’s qualifiers are very much on the minds of those in Dublin, Ohio. Story.
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Round 2 coverage
Braving his own storm: Spencer Levin missed the Masters by about $17,000. Then he flubbed his chance for his first Tour victory in February. But it is making him stronger. Story.
• Memorial notebook: Rory McIlroy carded a second-round 79 Friday at Memorial that sent him packing early from a third consecutive tournament. Story.
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Round 1 coverage
• Simply tired: Phil Mickelson says that it wasn’t his 7-over 79 that caused his post-round withdrawal from Memorial on Thursday. It was his whirlwind schedule before the event that left him “fatigued.” Story.
• Unassuming star: Much of the attention on Thursday went to the likes of Tiger Woods, but Muirfield Village was the biggest star. Story.
• Olympic feat: Dustin Johnson might not remember match play at the 2007 U.S. Amateur, played at The Olympic Club, too clearly, but it’s safe to say his opponent does. Story.