Kyle Stanley made four straight birdies and stood on the 72nd tee tied for the Memorial Tournament lead on Sunday, but an unlucky break made his route to the title that much more difficult.
Stanley made birdies on 14, 15, 16 and 17 to get to 16 under and tie playing partner Bryson DeChambeau for the tournament lead, forcing to a showdown on the par-4 18th hole.
Stanley was first to play, but what seemed like a solid drive barely clipped a tree off the right fairway and, according to CBS Sports on-course reporter Peter Kostis, “kicked back about 45 yards.” The tree Stanley hit was in the right rough, but his ball kicked all the way across the fairway and into a terrible lie in the left rough.
“Don’t know if I have ever seen that on a 72nd hole, a break like that,” Nick Faldo said on the CBS broadcast. “He hits a perfect tee shot, clips the tree — what are the odds?”
According to ShotLink, Stanley’s drive still traveled 294 yards, but with a bad lie and 200 yards to the hole he was only able to advance it 96 yards. He then hit a wedge from 104 yards to 15 feet away, but he missed the putt and bogeyed. DeChambeau also missed his par putt from 8 feet, creating a three-man playoff with DeChambeau, Stanley and Byeong Hun An. Stanley was eliminated on the first playoff hole after he couldn’t make par, and DeChambeau won with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
You can watch Stanley’s tee shot below.
What an awful bounce for Kyle Stanley at the 72nd hole. pic.twitter.com/DXJAiAeqJi
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 3, 2018