Fleetwood's historic round falls just short
June 17, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Tommy Fleetwood was mere inches away from carding an 8-under 62 in the final round of the U.S. Open. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – England’s Tommy Fleetwood stared down a rare place in history from eight feet, seven inches on Shinnecock’s 18th green early in Sunday’s final round.
Little did he know it would also be critical to his U.S. Open hopes.
Ultimately his birdie attempt slid to the right and he was forced to settle for a share of history, becoming the sixth player to shoot a 63 in a U.S. Open.
Hours later, after watching other competitors from the clubhouse, he would look up at the scoreboards and realize his 2-over-282 total was one shot shy of forcing a playoff with champion Brooks Koepka.
It will be a gut-wrenching reality for the 27-year-old for some time although he was trying to take the positives from the week.
He was fourth a year ago in the same championship.
“Obviously, that's the putt that will play on your mind because that was the last shot you hit and that was your chance,” Fleetwood said “But I missed some putts in the week. I made some putts. I think everybody did. And your score is your score.
“For me, just getting that close to winning a major again, I think that is the ultimate thing I'll take from it. “I'm not going to dwell too much on it. It is what it is.”
Fleetwood looked set to give Branden Grace’s historic record 62 in major championship golf (2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale) a run for its money when he moved to seven under on his round through 15 holes.
But he was unable to take advantage of the par-5 16th or the par-4 17th and settled for pars.
His approach to the final hole was sublime from 197-yards but a slight misread would cost him.
Earlier he jumped out to a hot start with four birdies in his opening seven holes before a small hiccup with bogey on the ninth.
He then got hot on the back nine with birdies on 12, 13, 14 and 15.
“I wanted 62,” Fleetwood said right after his round.
“I knew what score it was for.
“I actually hit the putt I wanted to but it is so steep that green it was a bit slower than I thought.”
Fleetwood joins Justin Thomas (2017), Vijay Singh (2003), Tom Weiskopf (1980), Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Johnny Miller (1973) in the U.S. Open 63 club.
“It's easy to look at it and think I was one shy, and you can be disappointed. But there's so many positives to look at and so much that you can take from it and learn from it,” Fleetwood added.
“Watching them down the stretch, you've got nothing but respect for how well Brooks did, just to hole the putts at the right time. He kept it together, and he's a world class player. He's one of the best players in the world.”