Sunday's Birdies and Bogeys
Who were the winners and losers Sunday at Chambers Bay? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys.
June 20, 2015
Birdie: Jordan Spieth
What's more impressive -- when a golfer hits a groove and cruises to a record-tying win; or when he has to claw his way through the toughest test in golf and find a way to come out on top? It's a debate Spieth is happy to engage in now that he's won the first two majors of 2015 in dramatically different fashion. If the Masters win was a resounding statement, Spieth's performance at Chambers Bay was a lesson in winning ugly. Never quite comfortable on Sunday, Spieth found a way to birdie the last hole to shoot 69 and capture his first national championship. He may have benefited from some 72nd hole luck, but part of winning the U.S. Open is creating your own good fortune. -- Sam Weinman
Bogey: Dustin Johnson
Johnson had lost a major with a meltdown (a final-round 82 at the 2010 U.S. Open), a stupid shot (2011 British Open), and a stupid penalty (2010 PGA Championship). But this might be the most crushing defeat of all. Johnson struggled in the middle of his round, but found himself still with a chance following a birdie on No. 17 and two brilliant shots to the par-5 18th. But facing a 12-foot eagle putt for the win, Johnson found a new way to let a big one get away. A stunning three-putt handed Jordan Spieth his second straight major and left DJ still searching for his first. -- Alex Myers
Birdie: Louis Oosthuizen
After breaking the U.S. Open scoring record for the middle two rounds with a pair of 66s, Oosthuizen became an afterthought with a front-nine 38. But he caught fire beginning with the 12th hole. In birding six of his final seven holes, he matched the low nine-hole score (29) in tournament history and briefly put himself in contention to win or at least get into a playoff. Of course, Jordan Spieth's closing birdie ended those dreams, but the 2010 British Open champ with arguably the sweetest swing in golf proved once again that when he's healthy, he's a force. -- A.M.
Bogey: Jason Day
It's hard to criticize a guy who probably shouldn't have been playing this weekend, let alone in the final group on Sunday. Knowing he overcame debilitating vertigo to be in contention for his first major, Day's week should be considered an unqualified success regardless. But in watching his putter go cold a day after his inspired 68, Day, with a four-over 74, fell short of one of the most unlikely wins in major history. -- S.W.
Birdie: Rory McIlroy
When he rolled in a 72-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, McIlroy moved to two shots off the lead, and with a drivable par 4 and a par 5 in front of him, he appeared poised to inch even closer. He would end up stalling with bogeys on two of his next four holes, but McIlroy's 66 was still an inspired display of ball-striking, and proved the World No. 1 is never out of a tournament until the very end. -- S.W.
Bogey: Rory McIlroy
Maybe it's unfair to knock a guy when he shoots 66 in the final round of the U.S. Open, but McIlroy's performance could have been so much better if he putted even marginally well. Even when factoring in his long putt on Sunday, he had little to show for his stellar play from tee to green. It's the one apparent hole in his game and the one thing that could prevent a great player from becoming one of the best of all time. -- S.W.
Birdie: USGA course setup
As determined as the USGA is to test the best players in the world, they were actually OK with letting them try to put together a score. By moving the tees up on holes 7 and 16, and by recognizing that 18 was better served as a par 5, Mike Davis and his cohorts laid the foundation for a compelling final round that, for once, could actually see players charge from behind, rather than back up en masse. Make no mistake -- it was still exceedingly difficult. But it was at least accessible enough to invite more players into the fray. -- S.W.
Bogey: Billy Horschel
Horschel played great golf on Sunday with a closing 67, but it was tough to tell by his on-course antics. Each time he missed a putt, Horschel would go to great lengths to show Chambers Bay's greens were the culprit. Afterward, he called them the worst greens he's ever putted on and said he "lost a little respect for the USGA." That's funny, Billy, because your act got you trending on Twitter and most people talking about it seemed to lose respect for you. -- A.M.
Bogey: Branden Grace's 16th hole
Tied for the lead through 15 holes and holding up admirably against the reigning Masters champ, Grace finally succumbed to major pressure on the 16th hole. Looking to take advantage of the drivable par 4, Grace spun out of his tee shot, and pushed it so far right he landed it near the train tracks and out of bounds. A double bogey effectively crushed his chances of a first major title. -- S.W.
Birdie: Adam Scott
It's been a disappointing season thus far for the man who was ranked No. 1 in the world a year ago, but perhaps Sunday's round is a sign he's turning things around. Scott shot 64, the low round of the week, to finish T-4, just his second top 10 of 2015. Scott has said he's sticking with his anchored putting stroke as long as he can. That gives him two more cracks at winning a second major championship with his big stick -- something that doesn't seem like a longshot anymore after this performance. -- A.M.
Bogey: Chris Kirk
Kirk finished off an 80-78 weekend to finish dead last of all the players to make the cut. Then he took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the golf course: "The U.S. Open is a great tournament with incredible history. The @usga should be ashamed of what they did to it this week." Of course, Kirk was far from the only player to complain this week, but when it comes from someone who played so poorly, it sounds like sour grapes. -- A.M.
Birdie: Brian Campbell
The amateur had bookend rounds of 67 and 68 to claim low amateur honors in the annual tournament within a tournament at the U.S. Open. Knowing that distinction was up for grabs late in his round, Campbell drained a clutch 20-footer for par on No. 18. Campbell, the 12th-ranked amateur in the world entering this week, recently graduated from the University of Illinois. As far as post-exam celebrations go, you could do a lot worse. -- A.M.
Bogey: J.B. Holmes
One of those in great position to chase the four leaders heading into the final round, Holmes pretty much sealed his fate on the first hole. After a perfect drive left him less than 100 yards in, Holmes missed the green left, had his first pitch come back to his feet, and made double bogey. He went on to shoot his worst round of the week and remain without a top-10 finish in a major for his career. -- A.M.
Birdie: The Open Championship
An Open at St. Andrews needs no hype, yet now the sense of anticipation surrounding the game's oldest major might be as high as ever. In capturing the year's first two majors, Jordan Spieth becomes the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to head to the Open halfway to the calendar Grand Slam. It will surely only get harder from here. But it's not like surviving Chambers Bay was a treat, either. -- S.W.