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Then, it was time to wait.
It was the third time in the last seven years that no one broke par in the U.S. Open. On all three occasions, the winner was in the locker room when it the tournament ended.
While Furyk will be haunted by his finish, McDowell can look back at his start — four bogeys on the front nine — and his inability to find fairways. Even on the last hole, his tee shot tumbled into the first cut of rough and kept him from being able to spin the ball closer.
"There’s a mixture of emotions inside me right now — disappointment, deflation, pride," he said. "But mostly just frustration, just because I hit three fairways today. That’s the U.S. Open. You’re not supposed to do that. You’re supposed to hit it in some fairways. And that was the key today for me."
Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old who started only four shots behind, disappeared quickly and closed with a 76. He showed up at Olympic hopeful only of making the cut, then being low amateur, then perhaps winning. He had to settle for the first one. A double bogey on the last hole meant Jordan Spieth (70) was low amateur.
Woods has never won a major when trailing going into the last round, and he kept that streak going.
Starting with a tee shot buried in the rough just off the first fairway, he bogeyed the opening two holes and chopped up the par-3 third hole for a double bogey. His name was removed from the board before the leaders even stepped onto the first tee. He played that infamous six-hole start in 6 over. And that 69-70 start that gave him a share of the lead going into the weekend felt like a distant memory.
"I was just a touch off," Woods said of his 75-73 weekend. "But I was still in the ball game. Today I just got off to a horrific start, and just never got it going early. And unfortunately, I put myself out of it."
For Westwood, the sting was sharper — and quicker. His tee shot on the fifth hole struck a towering cypress tree and never came down. Westwood gazed at the top of the 40-foot tree, even using binoculars to try to find it. But it was back to the tee for his third shot, a double bogey that made him part of Olympic lore on the fifth hole, only with a far different outcome.
It was the same hole — but not the same tree — where Lee Janzen’s ball dropped from the branches as his back was turned while walking back to the tree. Janzen converted that break into another U.S. Open title in 1998. Westwood never threatened again in trying to win his first major.
Furyk and McDowell were slugging it out over the opening six holes, and no one seriously challenged them for the first few hours of the final round.
It changed quickly, and it was tight the rest of the way with as many as eight players believing they could win this championship.
Thompson, whose 66 in the opening round was the best score of the week, played bogey-free on the back nine and picked up a birdie on the par-5 16th with a wedge that settled near the flag. Despite missing an easy birdie chance on the 17th, he was in the clubhouse at 2-over 282.
Els drove the par-4 seventh green and holed an 8-foot eagle putt that brought him within two shots of the lead. He lost hope, however, when he slightly pulled his wedge into the 16th. It went into a collection area, and his putt up the slope came back at his feet. He had to scramble for a bogey.
"I’ll go to bed tonight thinking of the 16th, the third shot," he said. "That basically cost me the tournament."
Padraig Harrington came out of nowhere with five birdies in 11 holes to reach 2 over, but from the 18th fairway, he buried his approach in a bunker and made bogey.
Even so, this was a major that looked as if it would belong to McDowell or Furyk. One of them lost it early, the other one lost it late.
Simpson joined them as a U.S. Open champion, a win that moved him to No. 5 in the world.
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