June 16 2013
Justin Rose won his first major title on Sunday (Kinnaird/Getty Images)
From staff and wire reports
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Justin Rose became the first Englishman in 43 years to win the U.S. Open, claiming a two-stroke win over Phil Mickelson and Jason Day on Sunday at Merion Golf Club.
It's Rose's first major win and fifth PGA TOUR win of his career. He was playing in his 37th major.
Rose finished at 1 over for the tournament, as no player matched par at 6,996-yard Merion. He shot an even-par 70 that included five birdies and five bogeys. He was the only player in the final 10 groups to avoid shooting a round over par.
His tee shot at the final hole split the fairway, landing close to the Ben Hogan plaque that recognizes his 1-iron shot during his 1950 win.
When he saw the proximity of the ball to the plaque, Rose said, "I thought this is my moment."
Mickelson, the 54-hole leader who was celebrating his 43rd birthday Sunday, finished runner-up for a sixth time at the U.S. Open.
"Very heartbreaking," Mickelson said. "... This is probably the toughest for me."
The last Englishman to win the U.S. Open was Tony Jacklin in 1970. The win also gives England its first major champ since Nick Faldo at the 1996 Masters.
It's the second major this year in which a drought has been broken. In April, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters.
After the Masters, Scott sent Rose a text, writing, "Your time's coming soon."
Said Rose: "He's a wise man."
Mickelson, in shooting a 4-over 74 to finish at 3 over, suffered two early double bogeys but holed out for eagle at the 10th hole to get back in it. But he suffered a bogey at the par-3 13th, one of the easier holes this week, and another bogey at the 15th. Usually deadly with a wedge in hand, Mickelson acknowledged hitting two poor wedge shots to set up those bogeys.
"Two costly shots," he said.
Day shot a 1-over 71 but bogeyed the 18th hole. It's his second runner-up finish at the U.S. Open in the last three years. He's also been in contention at the Masters in recent years.
"As long as I keep knocking on the door," Day said, "I think I'll win a major here soon."
Jason Dufner, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, and Billy Horchel tied for fourth at 5 over.
The 32-year-old Rose overcame his share of misadventures on a course that challenged all comers despite being the shortest at a major in nine years. He took the sole lead for good because of others' mistakes at No. 15: Mickelson and Hunter Mahan, playing in the final group, both lost shots on the hole to fall out of a tie for first.
Rose's last shot was a tap-in for par at the 18th, after his caddie removed the pin with the wicker basket on top, the symbol of Merion that replaces the familiar flag. He had chipped it there from the rough just behind the green, nearly becoming the only player to birdie the finishing hole over the final two rounds of the championship.
The day appeared to set up well for Mickelson to finally win his first U.S. Open. It was his 43rd birthday, it was Father's Day in the United States, and it was the first time he had held a sole 54-hole lead at the event. He made eagle from the rough at the 10th hole to retake the lead.
He was in a three-way tie with Rose and Mahan when his approach rolled back down the fairway at 15. He chipped well past the hole and two-putted for bogey.
Mahan was the steadiest player on the course, with 13 pars in his first 14 holes, until his tee shot found the rough at 15. He hit into more rough before 3-putting for double bogey.
Luke Donald also started the round just one shot to make up, but he hit a volunteer with a tee shot on No. 3 and on No. 4, took off his left shoe and sock to play his ball next to Cobbs Creek. He shot a 75 and finished tied for eighth
Charl Schwartzel went briefly under par, then went the other way with a streak of bogeys that led to a 78.
Mickelson was the overnight leader at 1-under, but he was scrambling from the start. His tee shot at the first landed in the rough, but he nearly birdied the hole when his 30-footer lipped out. He was in the sand at No. 2 yet missed a short putt for birdie. He finally paid the price for his waywardness when he put one in a bunker at the par-3 No. 3 and then 3-putted for a 5 that left no one under par for the tournament.