UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Jordan Spieth was just hoping for a chance to play more golf with the U.S. Open title on the line as he watched Dustin Johnson line up for an eagle putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay on Sunday.
He was as shocked as anyone when Johnson three-putted from inside of 13 feet, handing Spieth the U.S. Open championship with a one-shot victory.
“I didn’t think it was good enough,” Spieth said of his final score of 5-under-par 275 after shooting a 1-under round of 69 on Sunday, “but I couldn’t be more happy right now.”
With the victory, Spieth enters rarified air. The 21-year-old is the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923 and the youngest player to win two major tournaments since Gene Sarazen in 1922.
Spieth, who won the Masters in April, is also halfway toward winning the calendar grand slam with next month’s British Open at St. Andrews and the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August ahead.
“To go to the home of golf in the next tournament is the sole focus,” Spieth said. “I’m not going to look past that. You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first two, I guess. I believe we’ll be able to get it done if we get the right prep in.”
Spieth is the sixth player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year, the most recent being Tiger Woods in 2002.
Spieth’s victory came after a dramatic final hour at Chambers Bay, the controversial host course of the 115th U.S. Open.
Spieth and South African Branden Grace came to the drivable par-4 16th hole tied for the lead at 5 under, two shots ahead of Johnson. Grace hit his drive out of bounds and wound up with a double bogey while Spieth drained a 26½-foot putt to take a three-shot lead.
Spieth promptly flared his tee shot on the par-3 17th into deep fescue, got onto the green with his second shot and three-putted for a double bogey of his own. Meanwhile, another South African, Louis Oosthuizen, birdied the par-5 18th hole to tie Spieth and grab the clubhouse lead. Oosthuizen ultimately tied for second with Johnson.
Spieth reached the 18th green with his second shot and had an eagle putt from 15 feet, 4 inches that he missed left of the cup for a tap-in birdie.
Looking on was Johnson, who was in the fairway after smashing his drive on the 602-yard 18th hole nearly 400 yards. He put his approach shot 12 feet, four inches from the pin, setting up his own look at eagle.
Johnson missed the putt to the left and it slid about 4 feet past the hole. His comeback attempt missed the cup to the left.
“On the last green, I was thinking, ‘This is why I’m here. This is why I play the game of golf,’” Johnson told ESPN. “It just didn’t work out. ...
“I really struggled getting it in the hole today. I didn’t think I was hitting bad putts, they just weren’t going in.”
Spieth said of Johnson’s finish: “It’s hard right now, it’s hard. I’m still amazed that I won, let alone that we weren’t playing tomorrow. 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.”
It was the most excruciating miss in a series of poor putts for Johnson, who held a two-stroke lead at the turn. He bogeyed the first two holes on the back nine and parred the drivable par-4 12th hole.
He appeared to be sliding out of the mix when he missed a short birdie putt on the 16th hole, but he rebounded to birdie the 17th to get back to 4 under and set up the dramatic finish.
Oosthuizen put himself into the mix when he reached 3-under par with a string of five consecutive birdies from 12 through 16. He then birdied the par-5 18th hole to reach 4 under and take the clubhouse lead.
Oosthuizen opened the tournament with a 7-over 77 playing alongside Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler on Thursday, but he got himself back in contention with a pair of 66s the next two days.
Australian Adam Scott shot the low round of the tournament Sunday, a 6-under 64, to get into the clubhouse at 3 under and pressure the leaders, who had just made the turn. However, he was eliminated when Oosthuizen drained his putt on No. 18.
“I needed to make a run today, and it was interesting as I went along just to see how the course was set up,” Scott said. “It played really well, and I took advantage of some of the holes playing a bit shorter and didn’t have any disasters out there and hit a few good shots and took advantage of them.
“It’s kind of what I needed to even think about having a chance.”
Scott added, “I think they did a very good job of setting (the course) up fair all week. If you hit good shots, they were getting rewarded.”
Scott’s 64 was one shot off the record for the lowest round ever posted in a major tournament. It was the first tournament for Scott after he asked former caddie Stevie Williams to return to his bag for the rest of the year.
“It was great to have him back on the bag this week,” Scott said. “Obviously, we have a great record in the big tournaments, and there is definitely something to that.”
Scott was joined at 3 under by Grace and Cameron Smith, who came within 4 inches of holing out with his second shot on the 18th hole.
Top-ranked Rory McIlroy made a mid-round charge with six birdies to reach 2 under and get within two shots of the lead. His momentum stalled when he sandwiched a par at the drivable par-4 16th with a pair of bogeys on par 3s.
“Post 4 under par, birdie those two holes coming in, then I thought I had a great chance,” McIlroy said. “When I look back … the last few holes of this golf course haven’t been kind to me all week. And when I look back at this tournament, that’s where I’ll rue some missed opportunities.
“I feel like it’s sort of one that got away, especially the way I putted this week. I don’t think I’ve ever hit the ball as well in a major championship.”
The win also was special for Jordan Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller, a former caddie at Chambers Bay who got married at the course two years ago. … Australian Jason Day, who held a share of the lead entering the final round despite battling vertigo since he collapsed on his final hole Friday, shot a 74 on Sunday to finish in a tie for ninth place at even par. … South African George Coetzee borrowed a driver from Alex Noren, who missed the cut, after the head of his driver snapped off while teeing off on the 10th hole. Coetzee was allowed to replace his club since it was broken during the normal course of play. … Brian Campbell finished as the low amateur for the tournament at 5-over 285 following a final-round 68. … Phil Mickelson finished in a tie for 64th after carding a final-round 73, his third over-par round after opening with a 69.