US Open Review
James Frederick "Webb" Simpson of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA claimed the 112 th US Open Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Simpson carded a 72-hole score of 281 (one-over par) to win by a single shot over American Michael Thompson and Graeme McDowell, the 2010 US Open winner from Northern Ireland.
The first round will be remembered for Michael Thompsons magnificent four under par round that gave him the outright lead going into the second day. He managed to make four birdies on the back nine on a gruelling Olympic course. Tiger Woods, fresh from his victory at the Memorial tournament two weeks prior was looking to end his four year drought without a major victory. He looked in good shape as he opened with a one under 69.
With some players shooting well into the 80s, the Olympic course was proving to be a stern test for even the most ardent of golfers. Phil Mickelson hit a 76, whilst Bubba Watson shot a 78. World number three Lee Westwood was four over par for Championship, but this is the US Open, anything can happen!
Moving into the second day, Thompson's initial promise turned to disappointment as he faded back into the pack, after shooting five over for the day. Topping the leaderboard was a certain Tiger Woods and veteran of the Tour, and former US Open Champion, Jim Furyk. They were both on one under par for the Championship with the rest of the field over par. Leading the trailing pack was McDowell, John Peterson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Thompson who were all two shots behind.
Going into the third round, the tournament had already claimed some high profile casualties, namely last year's winner Rory McIlroy and world number one Luke Donald. They both missed the cut scoring ten over and eleven over respectively. Other big names to fall short of the cut line included the American pair of Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson who both missed it by one shot shooting nine over par for their first two rounds.
Leading the field by the end of play on the third day were ex-champions McDowell and Furyk who were both on one-under par, the only two players to be under par. Woods was hit with a set back after he could only manage a five-over par 75 pushing him down the leaderboard. Thirteen players were separated by four shots going into the final round, which included seventeen year old amateur Beau Hossler. Eventual Champion Simpson made his move in the third round, scoring a very healthy two-under par to put him in the mix. He would tee off in the fourth to last group, which he later admitted he preferred.
Going into the final round Simpson wasn't really considered a serious threat. Jim Furyk and McDowell who topped the leaderboard were the major contenders, as well as the ever imperious figure of Tiger Woods who was also still in contention. However it was not meant to be Tiger's year as he started the first three holes bogey, bogey, double bogey. He has also never won a major tournament after starting the final round from behind.
Furyk had been the pacesetter for the majority of the weekend and he had only six bogeys going into the last round. He led the field on his own for fifteen holes on the final day only to capitulate towards the end of his round. He wildly hooked his tee shot on the 16 th leaving him to make a bogey. Thompson's early promise returned in the final round where he hit the round of the day with a 67 that would eventually tie him for second. He had the early clubhouse lead and had to sit and wait anxiously as he waited to see if his two-over par score would be enough to win.
With Simpson already finished and sitting in the clubhouse with a score of one-over par it all came down to Furyk and McDowell down the 18 th and final hole knowing that they would both need a birdie to tie with Simpson to then take it into an eighteen hole play-off on the Monday. Furyk fluffed his second shot in to the green landing in the bunker which he then needed to hole. He ended with a bogey and finished with a 74 for the round, tying for fourth shooting 283. McDowell hit his second into the middle of the green, leaving himself with a 25-foot to the hole to force a play-off. Unfortunately for McDowell his putt slid left of the cup, but it was joy for Simpson who looked on in disbelief from the locker room with his wife. Simpson hit two closing rounds of 68 that was the lowest of all the remaining players, and in turn became a fully deserved US Open Champion.
Simpson's ability to outlast the field whilst everyone else was collapsing around him was the impressive feature of his game. The manner of Simpsons win was similar to McDowell's triumph in 2010 as he just had to hang in there, make the putts and wait for the others around him to make mistakes.
Shot of the tournament
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