University Place, WA (SportsNetwork.com) – Jordan Spieth 2-putted for birdie on the 72nd hole Sunday and won the U.S. Open Championship when Dustin Johnson 3-putted for par on the same hole.
Spieth closed with a 1-under 69 despite a double-bogey on 17. The Masters champion finished at 5-under-par 275 at Chambers Bay.
Johnson, who turns 31 on Monday, had a 12-foot putt for eagle and the win, but rolled that putt three feet by the hole. Johnson’s birdie putt that would have forced a Monday playoff slid by the left edge and Spieth was the champion.
“I was happy 18 was a par-5 first and foremost. I put a drive right where I wanted to and (caddie Michael Greller) said you know you’ve hit this shot before this week already, just swing smooth, get it on up there, it’s a perfect club. I got a nice bounce off the side and two putts later I didn’t think it was enough,” Spieth admitted at the trophy presentation. “I couldn’t be more happy right now.”
Spieth said of Greller, “He’s my right-hand man. He’s the only other guy that can control the outcome of what I do on the course. Everything that we’ve done it has been as a team.”
He joined John McDermott, Gene Sarazen and Tom Morris as the only four players to win two major championships before their 22nd birthday. Spieth was the youngest to win the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.
Spieth joined Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Craig Wood as the sixth player to win the season’s first two majors.
“To go to the home of golf in the next tournament, that’s the sole focus. I’m not going to look past that,” said Spieth. “You can’t win them all until you win the first two, I guess. We’re going to go to St. Andrews looking for the claret jug, and I believe that we’ll be able to get it done if we get the right prep in.”
Johnson posted an even-par 70 to share second place with former Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen. The South African birdied six of the last seven holes for a 3-under 67. Johnson and Oosthuizen tied for second at minus-4.
Spieth watched playing partner Branden Grace knock his drive out of the bounds off the 16th tee. Spieth’s tee shot at the drivable, par-4 came up short in the right rough.
His chip stopped shorter than he hoped. Spieth poured in the 27-footer for birdie and a 3-shot lead as Grace made double-bogey to fall to minus-3.
However, Spieth made a mess of the 17th. His tee ball landed right of the green in thick rough. He chipped to 45 feet, then 3-putted for double-bogey.
Suddenly, Spieth was tied for the lead with Oosthuizen, who drained a 10- footer for birdie at 18 to post 4-under.
“I had a rough start. Started awfully, really. Three-over through four is not the start you want,” Oosthuizen admitted. “I pushed myself the last few holes to be more aggressive on putts. Just to see if I can get to some sort of number. I think to hole that wedge on 14 got me really motivated for those last four holes.”
As Spieth was on the 18th tee, Johnson dropped his tee shot six feet from the cup at 17. He converted that birdie chance to join Oosthuizen and Spieth at 4-under par.
Spieth found the fairway at the 18th, then knocked his second to 16 feet. His eagle chance stopped inches from the hole. He tapped in for birdie to move one clear, and it was up to Johnson.
Johnson, who coughed up the 54-hole lead at Pebble Beach in 2010, also found the fairway, then blasted a 5-iron from 246 yards out to 12 feet. His eagle effort missed on the left edge and trickled three feet by the cup. Johnson’s birdie putt missed left as well to give Spieth the title.
“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 ball. Proud of the way I handled myself all day. I gave myself chances all day long,” Johnson admitted.
“I got to see Jason’s putt. If I wouldn’t have saw his putt, I might have hit that thing 10 feet by the hole. I just touched it and it rolled. It was a tough putt. It was going to be a difficult putt to make. I would have thought it would have came down a little bit.”
With Johnson’s miss, Spieth became the first player since Bobby Jones in 1926 to birdie the final hole and win the U.S. Open by one stroke.
“There’s only one tournament in the world that can finish like that, and that’s this one. For how exciting it felt out there, the finish certainly wasn’t,” Spieth said. “I’m in shock still. It’ll take a while to sink in because I thought that I had lost it.
“I thought that Dustin’s gonna make the putt. If he doesn’t, its going to go three or four feet by if he has some speed on it. The second putt, I could just hear the crowd, and I said there’s no way. But from anything outside two feet out here is not easy … it’s tough to make those putts, that’s why I was so focused on those 2-footers coming in, when normally we just walk up and tap them in.”
Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, fired a 6-under 64 for the low round of the week. The Australian tied for fourth at 3-under-par 277. He was joined there by Cameron Smith (68) and Grace (71).
Former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel posted a 4-under 66 to grab seventh place at minus-2. Brandt Snedeker, who was within two of the lead thanks to four straight birdies from the sixth, played the back nine in 1-over par for a closing 68. Snedeker was the final player in red figures at 1-under-par 279.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who was looking for his fifth major championship, was 6-under par through 13 holes and within two of the lead. However, he played the final five holes in 2-over par for a closing 4-under 66.
McIlroy was joined in ninth place by Jason Day (74) and Shane Lowry (71). Day, who collapsed from a battle with vertigo in Friday’s second round, was two behind Johnson after eight holes. Day played the back nine in 3-over par to fall from contention.
Spieth, Grace, Day and Johnson shared the lead entering the final round. Spieth was the first to blink as he bogeyed the first. Grace stumbled to a bogey on four.
McIlroy, who was well ahead of the leaders, made his third birdie in four holes at 13 to move within two, then Day made a mess of the fourth en route to a bogey of his own.
Johnson drained a 13-foot birdie putt at four to move two clear. Day came right back with a birdie at five to get back within one. Johnson poured in a 25-footer to save par at six, while Day tripped to a bogey and Johnson’s lead was again two.
Spieth found the green in two at the par-5 eighth and 2-putted for birdie to move to minus-4. Day traded a bogey at seven for a birdie at eight, while Johnson also birdied No. 8 to push his advantage over Spieth to two.
Grace followed his bogey at four with four pars in a row before he birdied the ninth to move within two of Johnson at minus-4. Grace saved par from seven feet out at 10.
Johnson found sand with his approach at 10 and blasted to eight feet. He failed to convert that par putt and his lead was down to one.
Spieth and Grace drove the green at the short 12th. Spieth putted first from 91 feet out and gave Grace a good read. Both players ended up 2-putting for birdie to move into a share of the lead.
Johnson carded his second straight bogey at the 11 to fall one back. He 3- putted for bogey on No. 13 to slip two behind.
Spieth, Grace and Johnson parred 14 and 15 to setup the dramatic finish.
NOTES: Spieth was the sixth straight major winner to own at least a piece of the 54-hole lead … He was also the 21st U.S. Open champion in the last 26 Opens that was in the top-5 after 36 holes … Spieth earned $1.8 million for the win, his fourth on the PGA Tour and second on the European Tour … Brian Campbell closed with a 68 to end at 5-over 285 and grab low amateur honors … The PGA Tour is in Connecticut next week for the Travelers Championship, where Kevin Streelman will defend his crown, while Fabrizio Zanotti is slated to defend his title at the European Tour’s BMW International Open.