Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 06/17/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
ARDMORE, Pa. -- A steady hand gave Justin Rose the shiny U.S. Open Trophy. A wild ride gave Phil Mickelson yet another silver medal.
Rose captured his first major championship on Sunday with remarkable calm and three pure shots on the punishing closing holes at Merion. A par on the 18th hole gave him an even-par 70, and that was good enough to become the first Englishman in 43 years to win America's national championship.
Rose hit 5-iron to the first cut of rough, pin-high on the 17th for an easy par. He smashed the most important tee shot of his career down the middle on the final hole, about 15 feet short of the famous Ben Hogan plaque. And his 4-iron rolled near the pin and settled against the collar of the green.
"When I came over the hill and saw my ball laying in the fairway, I thought, 'This is my moment.' It was me hitting from the middle of the fairway," Rose said.
As usual, someone's big moment in the U.S. Open came at Mickelson's expense.
-- Justin Rose, on his father, who died in 2002
Rose was in the scoring area a half-mile from the grandstands behind the 18th green where the fans began to chant, "Let's go Phil!" as Mickelson paced off a last-ditch effort to force a playoff. It was a long shot -- the 18th hole didn't yield a single birdie all weekend. From about 40 yards away, Mickelson's chip for birdie raced by the cup, securing Rose's victory.
Mickelson, already in the U.S. Open record book with five second-place finishes, added another that will hurt as much any of them.
Sunday was his 43rd birthday. It was the first time he was equipped with the outright lead going into the last day. His week began with a cross-country trip home to San Diego to watch his oldest daughter graduate from the eighth grade, returning just three hours before his tee time on Thursday. This was the same daughter born the day after his first runner-up finish in 1999.
All the stars were aligned. None of the putts fell in.
Mickelson surged back into the lead by holing out from 75 yards in thick rough on the 10th hole for eagle, another moment that made it seem like surely this was his time. The cheer could be heard across the road, through the trees, loud enough that Rose knew exactly what had happened.
But on the easiest hole at Merion, Mickelson drilled a wedge over the green on the par-3 13th and made bogey.
What hurt Mickelson even more was a wedge from about 121 yards on the 15th hole. It should have given him a look at birdie, but it came up so short that Mickelson's best chance was to use one of his five wedges to chip from the front of the green. He hit that one too far, 25 feet by the hole, and the bogey wound up costing him a chance at the major he covets.
Mickelson wound up with a bogey on the 18th for a 74 and tied for second with Jason Day, who closed with a 71.
"Heartbreak," Mickelson said. "This is tough to swallow after coming so close. This was my best chance of all of them. I had a golf course I really liked. I felt this was as good an opportunity as you could ask for. It really hurts."
Day appeared to salvage his round by chipping in for bogey on the 11th hole, and he was still in the picture when he made a 12-foot par putt on the 17th to stay one shot behind. But he put his approach into the bunker left of the 18th green, blasted out to about seven feet and missed the putt.
The back nine was a four-way battle that included Hunter Mahan, who played in the last group with Mickelson. He was one shot out of the lead until he three-putted the 15th hole for a double bogey, and then closed with back-to-back bogeys when his hopes were gone. Mahan had a 75 and tied for fourth with Billy Horschel (74), Ernie Els (69) and Jason Dufner, who had a 67 despite making triple bogey on the 15th hole.
David Hearn (71) of Brantford, Ont., finished in a tie for 21st at 11 over, while Mike Weir (69) of Brights Grove, Ont., tied for 28th at 12 over. Tiger Woods finished at plus-13.
Rose finished at 1-over 281, eight shots higher than David Graham's winning score in 1981 when the U.S. Open was last held at Merion. The shortest course for a major championship in nearly a decade held up just fine. It was the third time in the last four years that no one broke par in the toughest test of golf.
Walking off the 18th green, he looked through the patchy clouds and pointed to the sky, a nod to his late father, Ken, who died of leukemia in September 2002.
"I couldn't help but look up at the heavens and think my old man Ken had something to do with it," Rose said.
The last Englishman to win the U.S. Open was Tony Jacklin at Hazeltine in 1970.
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2013 C1
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Uh-oh, more goalie worries
Manitoba Hydro president indicates ratepayers may be on the hook for new hydro line
Raiders fire coach Dennis Allen
Manitoba's low cost loans for winter tires program kicks off today
Dallas hospital monitoring patient for Ebola
CRTC to ignore Netflix and Google submissions
Manitoba journalist charged with Internet luring and child pornography
National anti-terrorist handbook launched in Winnipeg
Sun Media apologizes to Justin Trudeau
Linebackers heart and soul of the team
The Pas school closed for at least a week after fire
Winnipeg DJ who went missing now in custody, facing sexual assault charge
Havixbeck promises quick action on old PSB and Civic Centre Parkade
Aboriginal leader wants to run for Liberals
NDP motion to force relevant answers during Question Period will be quashed by Tories
Advance polls open for civic election
How-to for fighting homegrown terror
Manitobans send supplies to help fight Ebola
Fire burns down former "Corner Gas" building
Family doctors given advice on prescribing pot
Cardinals running back charged with hitting wife
Sesame Street gang onstage at The Burt in December
Lawyer says Magnotta not criminally responsible
Human rights museum saw more than 2,700 visitors this weekend
Winnipeg Cheapskate: Your cheapskate questions
AP Exclusive: Prince exalts in his 'heaven'
Hong Kong residents uneasy following protest
Missing 2-year-old girl found safe in Ontario
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons
Police warn Winnipeggers about convicted child molester moving into area
Let's consider city sales tax
Man jailed in Cuba maintains innocence
Cabinet minister quits after auditor's report
Cooler, seasonal temperatures expected this week
Manitoba missing an opportunity by not promoting places to see glorious fall colours
Adam Cohen at WECC Nov. 14
Solemn march to remember
Parliamentary reform crosses party lines
When wins mean nothing