8am Round-Up: Jack Nicklaus heaps praise on Memorial winner Jason Dufner
The former USPGA champion had opened with two 65s to sit at the top of the leaderboard before stumbling to a 77 in Saturday’s third round.
But, in a final round that finished in darkness following a weather delay, Dufner hit back with a 68 that contained seven birdies to finish on 13-under-par.
He claimed a fifth PGA Tour triumph by three shots from former Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler (70) and India’s Anirban Lahiri (65).
“This morning, just before the final round started, I walked into the Captains Grill and sitting there was a bunch of the guys at the top of the leaderboard, including Jason Dufner,” wrote Nicklaus on social media.
“I said, ‘Duf, that was a great first two rounds. I’m sorry about what happened yesterday’.
“But he said, ‘I still have a chance to win the golf tournament’. And I said, ‘Yes you do’. He went out there today and played some magnificent golf.
“We are really pleased Jason won this tournament. They kept saying on television that he is now the second person born in the State of Ohio to win this tournament.
“Congratulations, Duf, we’re very pleased to have you as the Memorial Tournament winner.”
It was a disappointing weekend for Scottish duo Martin Laird and Russell Knox after they7’d both been sitting in promising positions at the halfway stage.
Laird tied for 52nd after closing with rounds of 75 and 78 for a four-over-par total while Knox ended up in a share of 65th on seven-over after finishing with scores of 78 and 76.
World No 2 Rory McIlroy says he has recovered from a rib injury and will be fit for the US Open.
The four-time major winner was a doubt for next week’s event event after sustaining a stress fracture of a rib earlier in the year.
McIlroy pulled out of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and concerns about his participation in Wisconsin heightened when he failed to play in last week’s Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
However, the four-time major winner told The Guardian: “I am ready for Erin Hills and looking forward to playing there for the first time.
“The last few weeks have obviously been frustrating,” said the 28-year-old 2011 US Open winner.
“I never like to miss events either on the PGA Tour or European Tour, but it was important I got back to a level of fitness where I felt like I could give myself the best possible chance at the US Open.
“As I have said many times before, majors will ultimately determine my golf career but I have had the rest of this busy season to consider as well.”
Phil Mickelson has already signalled his intention to miss the US Open - the only major to elude him - to attend his daughter’s graduation.
Liam Johnston completed a notable double in 2017 as he became the first home player to win the Carrick Neill Scottish Men’s Open Championship in nearly a decade.
The Dumfries & County player carded closing rounds of 69 and 71 for a nine-under-total at Western Gailes, where he finished two shots ahead of Englishman Matthew Jordan.
Johnston, who is the first Scot to claim victory in the event since Wallace Booth achieved the feat in 2008, also won the African Amateur at Leopard Creek in March.
“It was just a grind all day, to be honest,” said Johnston, who joins a winners’ list that includes recent champions Andrew Sullivan, Tommy Fleetwood and Richie Ramsay. “It was a windy all day, especially on the back nine in the final round.
“I feel like this game, once you get to the upper levels, is all about self-belief and knowing you can do it. The win earlier in the year in South Africa definitely helped me to stay calm today.
“I would say the field was slightly stronger here than in South Africa so it’s definitely my biggest achievement to date.
“The Walker Cup is one of my main goals for the year, so to get a second win is huge. But I just need to keep going as there is still a lot of golf to be played.”
Peebles’ Craig Howie slipped to a closing three-over 74 but still finished in a tie for third on five- under.
North Berwick’s Clara Young produced a fine weekend’s work to secure a narrow one-shot success in the St Rule Trophy at St Andrews.
The 20-year-old shot rounds of 67 and 72 over the New Course on Saturday, before adding a 71 at the Old Course 24 hours later.
With a 16-under total, she edged out Australian Montana Strauss by a stroke, with overnight leader Gemma Clews from England two shots further back on 13 under.
Clews, who set a new record over the New Course on Saturday after her stunning 65, held a four-shot lead going into the final round.
But her 78 opened the door for Young, who is back home for the summer from the University of Missouri.
Chloe Goadby (St Regulus) shared fourth place on 12 under, with Grantown on Spey’s Hannah McCook tied seventh.
Swede Anna Nordqvist missed out on a hat-trick of successes at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Nordqvist went into Sunday’s final round at New Jersey’s Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club two shots off the lead but could not reel in Kim In-kyung and missed out on winning the event for a third successive year.
A round of 69 was enough to see South Korea’s Kim finish on 11 under par and hold off Nordqvist, who matched the feat to finish on nine under.
Catriona Matthew tied for 36th, following a brace of 70s with a 72 for a one-under total.
Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen missed the cut after rounds of 83 and 70.
American Conrad Shindler beat compatriot Chesson Hadley in a play-off to claim his first victory on the Web.com Tour.
Shindler claimed victory in the Rex Hospital Open in North Carolina with a par at the first extra hole after the pair had finished locked together on 15-under-par.
Scot Jimmy Gunn missed the cut after rounds of 75 and 68.