He experienced his first taste of big-time, under-the-spotlight golf a year ago at the Ryder Cup, and played his fifth U.S. Open like it was his 15th. I’ve done it before, but he did it today. And I felt confident all week. “Now I think he’s got a lot of confidence”. “I’m looking forward to my shot at it”. The Japanese finished in fine style to secure second place, getting up and down for birdie with a chip from the rough next to the 18th green. Only six players had ever reached double digits under par in the previous 116 U.S. Opens.
Q. Does this sting at all for you?
“Anytime you don’t win, it stings”.
“It really was the putt – the par save on 13″.
One night in Scotland, he called his agent and wanted to come home, though he was leading the tournament. Just trying to be aggressive and hit the back of the hole. Justin Thomas was hoping to relive it. I’d never teed off this late before, so that was different. And despite the drama-free Sunday, it produced a damn good time. “Unfortunately I just didn’t execute”.
Brian Harman was doing everything he could to stay with him, calming himself after a rocky start and playing bogey-free to stay in range in a final round where the wind finally showed up. But, yeah, it was hard to. I think that was the difference.
Just don’t mention that to some of the best players in the world.
Q. Did you have any inkling on the driving range or putting today that it wasn’t going to be like yesterday? “He went and won the golf tournament on the back nine”, Harman said.
He hit a good putt on No. 2 that got caught the left edge of the cup and spun out, and settled for bogey. “The way I putted this week was unbelievable, too”. “I don’t know if that’s saying anything”. And then 4, my ball was three inches from the hole, and it completely stopped and rolled back four and a half feet. That was a big plus for me. Really pretty much all because of a bad pin, which is unfortunate.
Neither got what they were looking for Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Thomas had equalled the lowest score in major championship history with a stunning 63 on Saturday, a nine-under-par round which was also the lowest in relation to par in a US Open. “Came up a little short”, Matsuyama told reporters through an interpreter. If there’s no wind and soft greens, we’re going to play well. Especially fairways this big.
A disturbing trend, or just a rough day on the golf course? I mean, it was still, I mean, 12-under, 11-under was still leading the tournament at one back. Sure, golf immortality as a major champion, but a hefty $2.16 million to the victor is a nice bit of change. “I think that’s been the consensus from everyone”, Spieth said Sunday.
But remember this is a public course, where people want to break 90, play in less than five hours and, like the pros, have a damn good time. He’d been knocking on the door for a while. “He’s been very unnoticed and maybe not respected as much as he should have for his record”.
The soft, forgiving conditions created opportunity for major movement up the leaderboard for those players willing to take it. Then a couple things go the other way and maybe he doesn’t win and finishes fourth or fifth like he has a couple times.