WEBB SIMPSON has won the 2012 US Open by a stroke after Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell missed a 24 foot downhill putt that would have forced a playoff.
The 26 year old American was watching the drama unfold from the clubhouse with his wife as joint leader Jim Furyk imploded on the last couple of holes and McDowell’s birdie putt sailed left of the hole. Simpson shot a final round 2-under 68 to finish 1-over for the tournament and take his first major.
McDowell (73) finished tied for second with first round leader Michael Thompson (67) who was left ruing his 75, 74 in his middle rounds following his opening 66.
After plodding along in the lead since the second round, 2003 winner Furyk looked to have his second title in the bag until he produced a duck hook drive from nowhere on the 16th that cost him a stroke.
McDowell had fallen away earlier but birdied the 17th to get even with Furyk on 2-over.
Teeing off on the 18th they both needed a birdie to tie the clubhouse leader Simpson. Furyk put his second shot into a greenside bunker then flew the green trying an almost impossible up and down.
McDowell put his approach over the flag, but seemingly misread his 24 foot downhill putt. The ball was a foot left as it sailed past the hole and Simpson had the US Open title in just his second attempt. It was only his fifth major start.
”I knew it was a tough golf course,” Simpson said. “I had to go out and do as well as I could. I probably prayed more the last three holes than I’ve ever done in my life. It helped me stay calm and get in with 2 under.”
Simpson had started the day four shots off the lead but moved up during a five-hole stretch in which he made four birdies.
Coming home there were five or six players with a genuine chance, including the four who tied for fourth on 3-over with Furyk – David Toms, Padraig Harrington, Jason Dufner and John Peterson – and Ernie Els who finished alone in 9th on 4-over.
John Senden was also in the mix, with a birdie on the 7th putting him in the thick of it, alone in third on 2-over at that stage just two behind the leaders.
Senden (72) finished tied for 10th on 5-over. Adam Scott was the next best Aussie a stroke further back.
Scott finished the tournament T15 with even par rounds of 70, 70 and 70 – immaculate scoring on the obviously super-tough Olympic Club course. He was left to ponder what might have been without the opening 6-over 76.2012 US Open Fnal Results