Johnson’s costly three-putt gives Spieth U.S. Open title

dustinjohnson3

For all of Dustin Johnson’s close calls with a major championship, the 115th U.S. Open was the toughest to swallow.

The former two-time All-American at Coastal Carolina and Myrtle Beach resident missed an eagle putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay on Sunday that would have given the win, then he missed a short one coming back that cost him a Monday playoff.

Johnson’s three-putt from inside of 13 feet handing Jordan Spieth the U.S. Open championship with a one-shot victory for his second major title. 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.

“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.”

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 Straights in August ahead.

Spieth 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.

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