Clear46° WeatherClear46° Weather

Graeme McDowell holds on to win 110th U.S. Open

Leaderboard

Final scores

Graeme McDowell 71-68-71-74 284 E

Gregory Havret 73-71-69-72 285 +1

Ernie Els 73-68-72-73 286 +2

Phil Mickelson 75-66-73-73 287 +3

Tiger Woods 74-72-66-75 287 +3

Matt Kuchar 74-72-74-68 288 +4

Davis Love 75-74-68-71 288 +4

Notables

Dustin Johnson 71-70-66-82 289 +5

Jim Furyk 72-75-74-71 292 +8

Sergio Garcia 73-76-73-71 293 +9

Tom Watson 78-71-70-76 295 +11

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — In a U.S. Open with golf's biggest stars on the leader­board, it was Graeme McDowell who played like one.

McDowell seized control after a shocking collapse by Dustin Johnson then didn't get flustered with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els lined up behind him. The 30-year-old from Northern Ireland wasn't perfect, but he was good enough.

"To win at Pebble Beach, to join the names — Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods, me — wow!" McDowell said. "I'm not quite sure if I belong in that list, but hey, I'm there now. It's a pretty amazing feeling."

He closed with 3-over 74 Sunday to become the first European in 40 years to capture the U.S. Open, getting an embrace on the 18th green from his father.

"You're something, kid," Kenny McDowell said, speaking for thousands who watched this unlikely Open unfold along the Pacific coastline.

It was a final round no one expected.

Johnson took a triple bogey on the second hole to lose all of his three-shot lead, and a double bogey on the next hole ended his hopes. Three of the biggest stars were right there, ready to continue the lineage of great champions at Pebble Beach, only to play far below their expectations.

McDowell made one birdie, and his final-round score was the highest by a U.S. Open champion since Andy North in 1985.

No matter. It added up to a one-shot victory over another surprise contender, France's Gregory Havret, who shot 72.

Havret, No. 391 in the world, played with heart until he failed to convert putts late.

"I knew I had some chances, and I did everything thinking I was able to win it," he said. "It's a shame I came up short. … But for sure, to play golf like this, compete for the title (is great)."

While McDowell doesn't have the resume of other champions — his best finish at a major was a tie for 10th at last year's PGA — his name is going on the trophy alongside theirs.

"It's a dream come true," said McDowell, who lives by Lake Nona in Orlando. "I've been dreaming it all my life. Two putts to win the U.S. Open. Can't believe it happened."

Woods couldn't believe it, either. Poised to end six months of bad publicity over a shattered personal life, he bogeyed five of his first 10 holes and took himself out of contention with 75.

"I made three mental mistakes," he said. "The only thing it cost us was a chance to win the U.S. Open."

But he didn't seem too disappointed: "I feel like I can play now. I've got a feel for my game, my shape of my shots, what I'm working on."

Els and Mickelson hung around a little longer, but neither could capitalize.

Els had a brief share of the lead on the front nine but came undone along the coastal holes — including one stretch of bogey-double bogey-bogey. His hopes ended when he missed his target with a sand wedge on the par-5 14th and took bogey, then missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 15th. He closed with 73 to finish in third.

Els didn't stick around long enough to discuss the round.

Mickelson holed a birdie putt from just off the green on the first hole then didn't make another birdie the rest of the day. He shot 73 and tied for fourth with Woods, missing a chance to supplant Woods as No. 1 in the world.

Even so, nothing compares with what happened to Johnson. The 25-year-old American looked so unflappable all week and came apart so quickly. On the final hole of a round he won't forget, Johnson missed a 2-foot birdie putt and wound up with 11-over 82.

"Playing so poorly, I still had fun (Sunday)," Johnson said. "I enjoyed playing. … You know, (I'll) get it done next time."

McDowell finished at even 284 and ended 40 years of questions about when a European would capture America's national championship. England's Tony Jacklin was the last one, in 1970.

McDowell, who earned his first victory in America, had to work harder than he imagined.

"I can't believe how difficult this golf course was," McDowell said. "No matter how good you play … good golf got rewarded, and bad golf got punished really badly."

With everyone else failing to master Pebble Beach, McDowell needed only to hold off his own nerves to grab the title.

And he thought of the people back home who he hoped were watching in the local pubs, despite it being nearly 3 a.m. there.

"I think they're having a few pints of Guinness there now," he said. "I think they might extend the drinking hours."

Graeme McDowell holds on to win 110th U.S. Open 06/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 21, 2010 8:16am]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...