Spieth shines at US Open
Jordan Spieth claimed a one-shot victory at the US Open at Chambers Bay after a costly three-putt at the last from Dustin Johnson.
A double-bogey at the 17th looked set to have cost Spieth his second major of the year, but Johnson, faced first with an eagle putt for the title, missed a birdie putt from less than four feet that would have forced a play-off, handing Spieth the win.
Having seen Johnson make the green at the par-five 18th in two, Spieth would surely have been content with a play-off, but instead he walked away with the silverware to cap an incredible final day.
The world number two adds his name to a few more elite lists with his title at Chambers Bay. Spieth is just the sixth man in history after Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win the Masters and US Open in the same year, and is the first player since Gene Sarazen in 1922 to win multiple majors aged 21 or younger
Spieth, Johnson, Grace and Jason Day began the day level on four-under, but Spieth fell one back at the first hole after a disappointing three-putt.
Grace and Day both bogeyed the fourth, with Johnson birding the same hole to take a two-shot lead into the closing nine holes.
However, it was then that Johnson began to falter. The big-hitting American strayed with a number of iron shots and missed makeable putts at the 10th, 11th and 13th as he dropped three shots in quick succession.
Spieth was heading in the opposite direction despite not being at his best. The 21-year-old had birdied the par-five eighth hole to take the turn at level par for the day. And Spieth and Grace both made birdies at the 12th as a two-shot swing saw the penultimate pairing hit the front.
It would all fall apart for Grace at the 16th though. The South African erred off the tee, with his three wood going out of bounds to the right. Grace could only salvage a double-bogey which effectively ended his chances, with the 27-year-old finishing on three-under after a round of 67.
There appeared to be a turning point of a different nature for Spieth at the 16th. The Masters champion had struggled with his putting, but when the pressure was on he stepped up in superb fashion. After his drive nestled just above one of the right-hand bunkers, Spieth left his eagle putt well short. Then faced with a tricky downhill putt for birdie, the Texan judged the pace and line to perfection as the ball just dropped into the cup.
Just when it appeared that Spieth was taking control, it went horribly wrong. An ugly tee shot at the 17th landed in some nasty-looking fescue, and while Spieth was able to play off the ridge and onto the green, he would then three-putt for a double-bogey to open the door for Johnson.
Despite the disappointment at the 17th, Spieth stuck to the task at hand and engineered an eagle chance at the last. While he wasn’t able to make the three, a birdie saw him move to five-under on his own, with only Johnson standing in his way.
Johnson had been struggling to make up the necessary ground on Spieth, but suddenly found himself back in it after Spieth’s misadventures at the 17th. The world number seven responded to the lifeline thrown in his direction by birding the 17th to move to four-under. Standing at the 18th tee, Johnson knew that an eagle would win it and a birdie would force a play-off.
The 30-year-old produced quality shots off the tee and from the fairway to set up putt of just under 13-feet for victory. He couldn’t sink the title-maker, and the proceeded to miss a putt from under four feet that would have forced a play-off, the ball agonisingly trickling to the left.
Level with Johnson on four-under was Oosthuizen who notched up six birdies in his last seven holes to come close to grabbing what would have been a remarkable come-from-behind victory after he shot an opening 77. Back-to-back 66s saw the former British Open champion get in with a sniff of victory, and after a slow start on Sunday, his late charge fell just short.
Grace had to settle for a share of fourth with Australians Adam Scott (64) and Cameron Smith (68), with another South African in Charl Schwartzel coming home in seventh after a round of 66. Brandt Snedeker (68) was next best on one-under.
After a frustrating opening three rounds, world number one Rory McIlroy found his range early on Sunday, with the Ulsterman making a late charge to get back into contention for a period.
Six birdies in his opening 13 hole saw McIlroy get within two of the leaders, but drop shots at the 15th and 17th saw him fall back to even-par for the tournament following a round of 66.
Joining McIlroy on even-par was Shane Lowry of Ireland and Day, whose brave effort despite suffering from vertigo since Friday ended with a disappointing, but incredibly brave, round of 74.
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