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Cantlay canters to Memorial Tournament title

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Washington (AFP)

Patrick Cantlay powered to an eight-under par 64 on Sunday to claim his second US PGA Tour title at the Memorial by two strokes from Australian Adam Scott.

Cantlay, 27, went into the final round four strokes behind overnight leader Martin Kaymer whose bid to end a near five-year victory drought faded with a final round 72 that left him in third place.

Cantlay's bogey-free effort was the best final round by a winner in the history of the Jack Nicklaus-hosted tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

The former US collegiate star, whose career was nearly derailed by a back injury, was coming off a tie for third at the PGA Championship, one of seven top-10 finishes this season.

He indicated on Saturday that 18-time major champion Nicklaus had given him some advice on how to close out tournaments.

"He said just to relax and have fun, and look around and see all the people having fun and try and smile and just have a good time with it," Cantlay said. "That's why you're there and I definitely felt like that today. I felt at ease."

Cantlay's previous tour title came in Las Vegas in November of 2017, when he won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open that was part of the 2017-18 season.

He sealed his second win with a an up-and-down par from a greenside bunker on 18.

"It just definitely validates my confidence that I can play with the best players in the world and beating a field like this on a big golf course like this, this is very similar to a major championship setup with the rough and the big slopey fast greens, it does a lot for my confidence," he said.

"Especially holing a putt like that on the last hole, knowing that I needed it. That's good to put in the memory bank."

Scott, like Kaymer a former world number one seeking to end an extended winless run, continued his recent resurgence with a final round 68 that left him on 17-under 271.

It was his second runner-up finish of the year after his second place at Torrey Pines, to go with top-10 finishes at Riviera and the PGA Championship.

Scott, who hasn't won since the 2016 WGC Mexico Championship, had six birdies, including three in a row from the 14th through the 16th.

He said he was "kind of" satisfied with his play, but admitted he was disappointed not to return to the winner's circle.

"I'm not winning. I'm playing good a lot, and that's the positive thing, but I want to win," he said.

- Tiger makes a move -

Kaymer, who started the day with a two-stroke lead in search of his first win since his 2014 US Open victory, finished a further two strokes back on 15-under 273.

With four birdies and a bogey through 11 holes the German was still holding on to a share of the lead before bogeys at 12 and 13.

"There was no room for mistakes, and I made a couple mistakes," Kaymer said, adding that "overall" he was happy with his game with the US Open coming up in two weeks.

Tiger Woods, who admitted Saturday that he was too far back for a serious run at a sixth Memorial title, was looking for a springboard into the US Open at Pebble Beach, and he got it with a sparkling five-under par 67.

Woods was charging with seven birdies in his first 12 holes, backing up just a bit with bogeys at 14 and 18.

"I played really well today," he said with a grin. "It was fun. I hit the ball so crisp and so solid and made some nice putts on the front nine and had things rolling for a little bit.

"I wanted to have something positive going into the Open, and kind of snuck up there into a nice little top 10 possibly here, so it was good," added Woods, who finished tied for ninth, 10 shots behind Cantlay.

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