21-year-old Jordan Spieth escaped with a one-shot victory after Dustin Johnson three-putted the 18th hole.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — One man’s agony became the other man’s joy.
For Dustin Johnson, it was the most painful of losses.
Photos from the U.S. Open
For 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who moments before had been faced with the possibility an excruciatingly painful loss, it was an unlikely and historic victory in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
Shot of the day
Dustin Johnson, 18th hole
Johnson’s missed putt for birdie on the 18th green would have forced a playoff Monday with Jordan Spieth. But Johnson pushed the putt just to the left of the cup, giving Spieth his second consecutive major win.
Spieth, who birdied the 18th hole, had to watch as Johnson attempted a 12-foot, 4-inch eagle putt that would have given him the win.
But Johnson missed that putt, hitting it 4 feet past the hole. An 18-hole playoff Monday seemed certain, but Johnson missed again from short range, giving Spieth a one-shot victory at 5-under par over Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Spieth, who won the Masters in April, becomes the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win the first two majors of the year and the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.
“I’m still in shock,” said Spieth, who said he was playing Sunday for his father and his caddie, Michael Greller, who lives in University Place. “I’ve never experienced a feeling like this. Just kind of total shock. … After D.J. hit his second shot in, I thought, ‘Shoot, I may have lost this tournament.’ And just utter shock at the finish.”
Johnson skipped the awards ceremony but talked later.
“I’m disappointed, but also I’m disappointed that I three-putted the last hole,” he said. “Other than that, I had a damn good week. I’m happy with the way I played. I’m happy with everything in my game right now.
“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 real simple. I need to get in the hole faster.”
It took 120 years for the U.S. Open to come here, and they might still be talking about this Open 120 years from now as one of the most dramatic in history.
Keeping up with the amazing changes in momentum was dizzying.
Spieth by the numbers
21 Jordan Spieth’s age. He’s the youngest to win two career majors since Gene Sarazen in 1922 and the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bob Jones in 1923.
6 Players who have won the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. Spieth joined Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002).
3 Players who have won the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. Spieth joined Johnny Miller and Woods.
Johnson seemed like the winner after the front nine when he led by two shots, then it was Spieth who seemingly had it all wrapped up after taking a three-shot lead after the 16th hole. He entered that hole tied with playing partner Branden Grace, but Grace made a double bogey after hitting his tee shot out of bounds and Spieth made a 27-foot birdie putt.
That presumably ended the suspense, but Spieth made a double bogey on the par-3 17th hole after hitting a poor tee shot (“that’s as far off line as I’ve hit a 6-iron in a long time”), then needing three putts. Johnson, playing a group behind Spieth, hit a brilliant shot on the 17th hole that stopped 6 feet from the hole, and he buried the putt.
In a flash, Spieth’s three-shot lead was gone and he was in a three-way tie with Johnson and Oosthuizen, who had already finished.
Spieth took Oosthuizen out of the equation when he hit a brilliant approach on the par-5 18th, leaving him a 16-foot eagle putt. He missed by inches, then tapped in for a birdie and a one-shot lead that was very precarious, with the long-hitting Johnson still with a chance on the 18th.
Johnson hit a great drive, and his approach shot was even better.
For Spieth, a playoff seemed to be the best possible result.
Until it wasn’t.
For Johnson, it was another excruciating near-miss in a major. He lost the 2010 U.S. Open after leading entering the final round and lost in the 2010 PGA Championship after leading with one hole left.
“I’ve got a chance to win the U.S. Open on the last hole,” he said. “I mean, I was trying, it just didn’t work out.”
For Spieth, anything now seems possible. That includes a chance to win the Grand Slam, with the pursuit of that continuing next month in the British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland. To be so young, so good, and on Sunday, a bit fortunate.
|Missed putts of 10 feet or less by Dustin Johnson on Sunday:|
|Hole||Distance from hole||Result|
|18||4 feet||1 foot short|
|16||9 feet||8 inches|
|13||5 feet||2 feet|
|11||6 feet||2 feet|
|10||6 feet||3 feet|
|3||5 feet||11 inches|
|2||9 feet||10 inches|
|Source: USGA shot tracker* no distance listed|