Sunday 26 March 2017

US Open 2015: Dustin Johnson three-putt hands Jordan Spieth back-to-back major triumphs

Phil Casey

Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth hoists the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth hoists the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth kisses the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth (middle) is presented with the U.S. Open Championship Trophy while standing next to Louis Oosthuizen (left) after the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth waves to the crowd after completing the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth (left) and Branden Grace shake hands after completing the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green after completing the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth putts on the 18th green in the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth waves to the crowd on the 18th green in the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth (right) leans on caddie Michael Greller on the 18th green in the final round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Spieth is halfway towards an unprecedented calendar grand slam after winning his second major in succession with a thrilling victory in the 115th US Open.

Spieth carded a closing 69 to finish five under par at Chambers Bay, one shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Dustin Johnson, who had an eagle putt to win on the 18th but three-putted from 12 feet.

The world number two became 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, as well as the first player since Gene Sarazen in 1922 to win multiple majors aged 21 or younger.

And he will now head into the Open Championship next month aiming to succeed Rory McIlroy as champion and go one better than Arnold Palmer, who won the Masters and US Open in 1960 and finished second at St Andrews.

"To go to the Home of Golf in the next tournament is the sole focus, I am not going to look beyond that," said Spieth, who began the week saying he knew he could make history "in many ways".

"But I guess you can't win them all unless you win the first two. We will go to St Andrews looking to win the Claret Jug. I believe we will be able to get the job done if we get the right prep in.

"I am just in shock that I am the one holding the trophy. Once Dustin's first putt missed I thought we were playing tomorrow (an 18-hole play-off on Monday)."

After three-putting the opening hole, Spieth recovered with birdies at the eighth and 12th and with Johnson losing a two-shot lead with three bogeys in four holes from the 10th, shared the lead with playing partner Branden Grace.

That all changed on the 16th, where Grace drove out of bounds to card a double bogey and Spieth holed from 25 feet for birdie - only for Spieth to double bogey the 17th after compounding a wild tee shot by three putting from 40 feet.

Oosthuizen had set the clubhouse target on four under after a remarkable six birdies in the last seven holes for a record-equalling back nine of 29, before Johnson then made birdie on the 17th to tie the lead.

After two brilliant shots onto the 18th green Spieth two-putted for birdie to finish five under and Johnson initially responded superbly with an even better approach to 12 feet, but saw his eagle attempt drift four feet past and miss the return to force a play-off.

"Whatever the putt did on the last hole, I don't know," said Johnson, who took a three-shot lead into the final round at Pebble Beach in 2010 but collapsed to a closing 82, while a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole of the US PGA two months later cost him a place in the play-off.

"I might have pulled it a little bit. But still to me it looked like it bounced left. It's tough. It's very difficult. I played really well. I didn't make any putts today, I really didn't. I had all the chances in the world.

"If any putts go in the hole, I win this thing by a few shots, it's not even close. Other than that I had a damn good week. I had a chance to win again a major on a Sunday. I thought I handled myself very well. I hit the shots when I needed to. So I know what it takes to get it done, it's really simple. I need to get in the hole faster."

Grace shared fourth place with Australian pair Adam Scott and Cameron Smith, Scott having carded a flawless 64 and Smith completing a 68 with a tap-in eagle on the 18th.

"I gave myself the opportunity to actually have a chance to win it and just one bad swing cost me at the end," Grace said. "I was hitting my 3-wood great the whole day. It was a straightforward shot, just spun out of it and that's costly.

"This is definitely the most pressure I've had to deal with in my professional career so far. It's a pity it came down to this."

Jason Day, who collapsed due to vertigo in the second round and battled symptoms over the last 36 holes, struggled to a 74 to share ninth with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

Day said: "I felt relatively good and felt strong after 12 holes. I'm guessing I'll take some time off and get a handle on this.

"I was taken by the fact that so many people supported me. I really made a lot of Jason Day fans out there this week, even though it didn't end up the way I wanted it to end up.

"I fought a good fight. And I think everybody that watched knows that I never gave up. It was a battle."

There was no major glory for Offaly's Shane Lowry who was just three shots off the lead after the third round.

The Clara man posted a 71 to end on level par in a tie for ninth with fellow Irish man Rory McIlroy whi shot a stunning 66.Dusto.

McIlroy had threatened to post a dangerous clubhouse lead after his birdie on 14 but his challenge petered out with two bogeys on his closing four holes.

"When I look back, obviously the last few holes of this golf course haven't been kind to me all week,'' said McIlroy, who played holes 14 through 18 in 6-over par for the tournament. "And when I look back at this tournament that's where I'll rue some missed opportunities.

"I feel like it's sort of one that got away, especially the way I putted this week. I don't think I've ever hit the ball as well in a major championship.''

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter accused tournament officials of lying about the condition of the greens at Chambers Bay during this week's US Open.

The putting surfaces have been widely criticised, with Henrik Stenson comparing them to "putting on broccoli" and Billy Horschel describing the fourth green in particular as "God awful."

And Poulter added to the controversy after completing a final round of 77 on Sunday, posting a picture of the surface and saying United States Golf Association (USGA) executive director Mike Davis should apologise for the conditions and defending them in public.

"I look forward to congratulating the 2015 US Open champion very soon, I simply didn't play well enough to be remotely close," Poulter posted on Instagram. "This is not sour grapes or moaning or any of that crap. It is simply the truth.

"Mike Davis the head of the USGA unfortunately hasn't spoken the truth about the condition of the greens. I feel very sorry for the hundreds of greens staff who spent countless hours leading into this week and this week doing there (sic) best to have it the best they could and I thank them for that.

"But look at the picture. This was the surface we had to putt on. It is disgraceful that the USGA hasn't apologized about the greens they simply have said "we are thrilled (with) the course condition this week".

"It wasn't a bad golf course, in fact it played well and was playable. What wasn't playable were the green surfaces. If this was a regular PGA tour event lots of players would have withdrawn and gone home, but players won't do that for a major. They were simply the worst most disgraceful surface I have ever seen on any tour in all the years I have played.

"The US Open deserves better than that. And the extra money that they have early this year from Fox Sports, they could easily have relayed (sic) the greens so we could have had perfect surfaces. Simply not good enough and deeply disappointing for a tournament of this magnitude.

"I don't like it when people lie on camera to try and save face.

"And to all you fans that paid good money to try and watch us play golf but couldn't see anything on most holes because it wasn't possible to stand on huge slopes or see around stands, I apologize and I'm sorry you wasted your money travelling to be disappointed.

"I hope we all learn something moving forward to not have these problems in the future."

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