Jordan Spieth cool under pressure, wins US Open by one – USA TODAY
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. â Gathering himself during a walk through the tunnel from the 17th green to the 18th tee, his mind jarred after a double-bogey 5 that wiped out his lead, Jordan Spieth proved his championship mettle once again at crusty Chambers Bay in the 115th U.S. Open.
Spieth closed with a 69 to finish at 5-under for the tournament, beating Dustin Johnson (70) and Louis Oosthuizen (67) by one shot to win his second major of the year.
The trophy didn’t come without plenty of drama in the final moments of the championship.
Having electrified the gallery with a birdie from 26 feet on the 16th hole to take a three-shot lead with two holes to play, Spieth then had to dig deep after hitting his worst shot of the day, a wayward iron into thick and tall grass that led to a double-bogey and erased his advantage.
But the 21-year-old Texan responded. With two mighty blows on the par-5 18th, Spieth two-putted from 16 feet to move one shot clear of the field. After signing his scorecard, he then had to sweat out Dustin Johnson.
Johnson, who had suffered heartbreak in majors before, held a two-shot lead multiple times on the front nine. After three bogeys in his first four holes of his inward nine, Johnson picked himself off the scorched Earth to make a birdie on the 17th to get in position to win.
Needing a birdie to tie Spieth and head to a Monday playoff, Johnson hit a 353-yard drive and then drilled a 5-iron from 246 yards to 13 feet. An eagle putt to win, two putts to tie. Johnson three-putted to finish one back.
“I’m still amazed that I won, let alone that we weren’t playing tomorrow,” Spieth said after hugging his mom, Chris, his dad, Shawn, and caddie Michael Greller, who is a former sixth-grade teacher and used to loop Chambers Bay in the summer. “So for that turnaround right there, to watch that happen, I feel for Dustin, but I haven’t been able to put anything in perspective yet.
” â¦ I think it will sink in a little quicker than the Masters did given that it’s already happened but, boy, what a team effort. What a team effort the whole week. I didn’t have my best stuff and we were able to get it done.”
Johnson couldn’t get it done on the decisive putt. “All I did was touch it, I mean, I didn’t even hit it and it went four feet by,” he said.
“Disappointed. I played really well. I didn’t make any putts today. I really didn’t. I had all the chances in the world. I’m really proud of the way I hit the ball, I’m proud of the way I handled myself all day. I gave myself chances all day long. If any putts go in the hole, then I win this thing by a few shots. It’s not even close.
“That’s just how it goes. I did everything that I could. I tried my damnedest to get it in the hole. I just couldn’t do it.”
Making history and now chasing more, Spieth will head across the pond in four weeks to an ancient village that is laden with lasting reminders from centuries past.
With two legs of the Grand Slam under his Under Armour belt, the All-American kid from Big D will look for major win No. 3 in the British Open on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, the birthplace of golf.
Spieth is the youngest to win the U.S. Open since Bob Jones won in 1923.
He started the day in a four-way tie for first with Johnson, Branden Grace and Jason Day, who was battling vertigo on the weekend. Spieth began his final round with a bogey and didn’t make much noise until a birdie at the par-5 eighth. He kept within striking distance and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on the 12th. But his birdie on the par-4 16th, coming a few minutes after Grace drove his ball out of bounds on the same hole, gave him a three-stroke lead with two holes to play.
Spieth also became the first since Gene Sarazen in 1922 to win multiple majors before turning 22.
The win was Spieth’s third of this season and fifth in his last 18 starts worldwide. In addition to his record-setting victory at Augusta National, he won the Valspar Championship in a playoff.
A roaring Rory McIlroy made things interesting over his last 18 holes. Starting the day eight shots behind the leaders, the world No. 1 and four-time major winner, who battled putting woes as he missed 15 putts inside 10 feet in the first three rounds, got to 6 under and within three shots of the lead.
But he faltered coming in with bogeys on 15 and 17 and shot 66 to finish at even par for the tournament.
“It bodes well for the rest of the summer the way I’ve hit the ball this week,” McIlroy said. “And I’ve got a couple of weeks to work on my putting and get that up to the shape that it has been in and especially the way it was last year. If I can do that, keep the long game where it is, I’m really excited about what can happen over the summer.”
It will be an interesting summer for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, each having not won since 2013. Woods shot 80-76 to miss the cut, while Mickelson, a record six-time runner-up in this championship, finished at 13 over. Defending champion Martin Kaymer also missed the cut.
Adam Scott finished with the low round of the week, a 64 on Sunday, to end at 3 under.
Spieth, who in April joined Woods as the only players to win the Masters at 21, will step on the rumpled, hallow grounds at the Old Course two steps of the way to a Grand Slam. No one in professional golf has swept the four majors in a single season.
For his part, Spieth isn’t reading too much into the record books that he’s rewriting.
“Every single thing that I’m able to do, somebody seems to find a history lesson on why I was the youngest to do something or as young as somebody way back when. For me, this is my life,” Spieth said.
“I’ve now been doing it for a while. I don’t really think of my age. I just think of us all as peers. It’s cool to be able to have two legs of the Grand Slam now, and to conquer golf’s hardest test. The U.S. Open is conquering the hardest layout in all of golf. That’s the way every year. The fact that we did it is amazing. We really grinded this week.”
It would be fitting for the kid to win in St. Andrews, where history and mythology are paired. The town was founded on the legend that the bones of the Christian apostle St. Andrew were brought there. The ruins of St. Andrews Castle, built around 1200 A.D. and rebuilt numerous times during the Wars of Scottish Independence, still loom, as do the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, founded in 1158.
And a few stones’ throws from the headquarters of the Royal & Ancient, which lays down the rules of golf for all the world except in Mexico and the U.S., is the Martyrs’ Monument, which commemorates the Protestant martyrs burned at the stake for purported heresy between 1520 and 1560.
It was there that shepherds hit rocks with sticks across flat, treeless lands in the 12th century to give birth to a game later called golf.
The Old Course is also where Woods wrapped up his career Grand Slam at the age of 24, winning the 2000 British Open.
PHOTOS: Final round of U.S. Open